Mr. Buencamino writes political commentaries for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror, October 13, 2005 edition, p. A11.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says: “Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome.”

At a Senate jueteng inquiry in June 2005, one witness testified that a certain Colonel Bucsit told him Mike and Mikey Arroyo were receiving jueteng payola. Another witness said he heard the same thing from conduits between the Arroyos and jueteng operators. Still another witness said he used “Catoy” Nuguit as a bagman to pass to then vice governor Mikey Arroyo P600,000 a month in jueteng payola.  But, because none of the witnesses presented any “supportive evidence,” Miriam Defensor-Santiago blithely debunked their testimony: “One hearsay plus one hearsay plus one hearsay ad infinitum equals zero testimony.”

The other day, Miriam did the same thing in the same way. She told the nation about a friend who told her about overhearing the sister of Senate President Franklin Drilon’s late wife “chattering away” about an alleged plot to assassinate Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Although Miriam had no “supportive evidence” to back up her story, she claimed “national interest” demanded that she share the gossip with the rest of the country anyway.

Thus, Miriam expected the same thing done in the same way to produce a different outcome:  One hearsay plus one hearsay plus one hearsay ad infinitum equals the national interest.

When it was Captain Marlon Mendoza’s turn to testify before the Senate,  he said,  ” I distinctly heard Garcillano telling us that Bong Pineda already gave P300 million to support President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s success in the election.”

Miriam rose to defend her president. She said: “Constitutionally speaking, it is not the purpose of legislative inquiry to allow any person to demean or defame any other person particularly the President of the Philippines without any supportive evidence.”

Today, Miriam cannot produce any “supportive evidence” to back up her hearsay information about an assassination plot so she calls her critics ignoramuses clamoring for proof. “One hearsay plus one hearsay….”

Brenda is not the only one acting crazy these days. Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye has also developed a taste for what he used to call trash.

One still remembers Bunye claim:  “In our opinion, this kind of testimony (Captain Mendoza) is nothing but trash that should not be given due importance.”   Today, he expects us to swallow Miriam’s trash. “Tonterias de Toting,” my aunt commented.

Miriam’s loony story came on the heels of damning testimonies by Brigadier General Francisco Gudani and Colonel Alexander Balutan against Mrs. Arroyo.  She distracted the public’s attention, and for that diversion, Mrs. Arroyo is forever grateful to her.  Mrs. Arroyo can now look forward to spending a few more days in Malacañang,

The public, on the other hand, has nothing to look forward to, except Miriam’s promise to shoot herself in the head if anyone can prove her deranged gossip caused a clear and present danger to the nation.  Unfortunately, the prospects of such a blessed event occurring are not too bright. Not because one cannot prove that she is a clear and present danger but because she has a reputation for reneging on promises.

When Miriam promised to do the public a favor and jump off an airplane if former president Estrada were arrested, she chickened out and said, “So, I lied. MWA-HAH-HAH-HAH -HAH -hik.”

When she swore on her son’s grave to retire from politics, she changed her mind and joined the senatorial ticket of the woman who also swore on someone’s grave that she would retire from politics.

People wonder what Miriam will do next, “Will she use her gun or a straight-jacket?”

She does not have to do either. The public will be more than happy if they never hear her struggle with pronouncing “educable” ever again.  Her “edJOOH-KAYbol” makes such a grating sound it can cause brain damage. Or china to chip.