In an interview with reporters at the Supreme Court, Roxas said Santos has performed well both when he was still at the Department of Transportation and Communications, which Roxas used to head, and now at the Department of Interior and Local Government.
“Maayos ang kanyang trabaho. Sa haba ng aming pagsasama sa DOTC at saka sa DILG ay wala kang masasabi. Walang mantsa, walang bahid ang kanyang pagserbisyo,” Roxas said.
Roxas said he did not necessarily give his “blessings” to Santos, but said he “supported” Santos’ decision to leave the executive branch and return once again to law practice.
“Hindi ko maaaring hadlangan ang kanyang pangarap o kagustuhan na bumalik na sa kanyang propesyon sa pagiging abugado. Sinusuportahan ko siya,” Roxas said.
“Sabi niya, pagod na rin siya. Nagsilbi na rin siya. Kaya maaari daw bang mag-apply. Oh di sabi ko, okay naman na mag-apply,” he added.
Asked what he wanted to tell Santos’ detractors, Roxas said: “Well, hayaan mo sila.”
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Secretary General Toby Tiangco earlier expressed doubt about Santos’ “agenda” for joining the Sandiganbayan race.
Tiangco said: “[But e]ven if he has the blessing of Mar Roxas, Usec. Santos is not exempted from the ‘Tuwid na Daan.’”
According to Tiangco, Santos served as undersecretary of Department of National Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz from 2004 to 2006, before being personally handpicked by Roxas as his deputy at the DILG and DOTC.
Tiangco expressed fears how a Santos-led Sandiganbayan would affect cases like that of former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay, wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Tiangco was spokesman of UNA during the campaign season, when the party went up against President Benigno Aquino III’s Team PNoy. Aquino and Roxas are both from the Liberal Party.
Santos is one of the nine nominees for the vacant and highest Sandiganbayan post. He is going up against several incumbent Sandiganbayan associate justices or “insiders,” and a Court of Appeals justice, among others. — BM, GMA News