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We will miss Sen. Miriam

There is no truth to the malicious talk that Malacañang ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to work hard for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago's election to the International Criminal Court because they are worried that she would block the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona who was impeached by the House of Representatives last Monday.   Santiago was elected Tuesday as judge in the International Criminal Court, the female judge from a developing Asian country to hold a seat in that international body.   “I will be the first Filipino to sit there. Plus, I will be the first Asian from a developing country. So this is an honor for the Philippines actually and for President Aquino who nominated me,” Santiago said in an interview.   Reports said she topped first round with 79 out of 104 votes, making her the first to be elected out of 18 candidates vying for six seats in the ICC Judicial Division.   “It’s really an achievement of our people there in the UN. It’s really our Department of Foreign Affairs that needs to be congratulated,” she said.   We will miss Miriam and her colorful quotes.   So quotable is she that there are several websites that contains her unforgettable quotes. Number one is her calling a congressman who delivered a privilege speech criticizing her as “fungus face.” We love her for saying things we would like to say but could not muster the courage to do so like when she said during the Senate hearing on the $329-million NBN deal that: “China invented civilization in the East, but as well it invented corruption for all of human civilization.”   She had to apologize for that later but the point was made.   That’s another admirable thing about Miriam. She does not hesitate to apologize or take back her words if she realized she had erred. Like when she said at the height of EDSA Tres, “I will jump headfirst from a helicopter in Luneta if Estrada gets removed from power.” When Estrada was indeed ousted, she said, “I lied”. Funny, isn’t it?”   When her name was taken off from the shortlist of candidates to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, she unleashed an avalanche of adjectives: “I am irate. I am foaming at the mouth. I’m homicidal. I’m suicidal. I’m humiliated, debased, degraded. And not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit in the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court.”   She created a tempest when she was head of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation. Asked if she got death threats, she replied, “I eat death threats for breakfast!” She added, “Death is only a state of thermodynamic equilibrium!”   But good news. Miriam said she will not be immediately leaving the Philippine Senate.   In an interview, she said, “I don’t have to resign immediately. People think that once I am elected I have to take the first plane out to The Hague and sit in a court. No. I will take my oath of office in March together with six other new judges.” The post has a term of nine years.   Santiago explained that the new ICC judges cannot assume office immediately “until we are officially called to report for work”.   “There are 18 judges in the ICC. The rule is, once a judge has participated in the trial of a case, he has to stay beyond his retirement date, until after the trial is finished.”   “That is why I will not leave the Philippine Senate immediately. I might stay for six months or a year or more. I can continue my work in the Senate but once I am called to The Hague I will resign,” she said.   The Philippine Senate will never be the same without Sen. Miriam Santiago.