Miriam Defensor-Santiago for Chief Justice

The Philippine Daily Inquirer for today (05 November 2006) has the headline “Miriam vs. ‘Old Boys Club'”. The alleged old-boy network among Philippine jurists will deny Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago the opportunity to be the first woman Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court. According to those in the know, the justices vying for the top post of CJ are set to close ranks and make their influence felt with the 9-member Judicial and Bar Council, which is set to submit a shortlist of three nominees to be appointed by the President.

It would be a pity if she were to be bypassed by the JBC. Even her detractors concede that she is eminently qualified for the position. Miriam is an expert in constitutional law and has a number of years under her belt in the judicial frontlines as a trial judge. Notwithstanding her clear bias for the present dispensation, she will bring passion, erudition and independent-thinking to a Supreme Court that has, except on a few rare occasions, been known for its mediocrity and muddled judgment.

The Warrior Lawyer has also seen a side of Mme. Miriam that is vastly different from her oftentimes edgy public persona. The Warrior Lawyer was a student of then Judge Santiago in international law. She was warm and witty among her students and had a sardonic sense of humor. Judge Santiago was so well loved at the law school that she became the favorite wedding sponsor of our batchmates. When the Warrior Lawyer himself chose to tie the knot, he was summoned to the chambers of Judge Santiago and given a 10-minute talk (it seemed much longer) on the responsibilities of married life. And she was not even my ninang.

The Warrior Lawyer felt deeply for her too when she lost a son under very tragic circumstances, being no stranger to such a catastrophic loss himself. Her sorrow is palpable still. Despite it all, she has soldiered on although her political prospects appear to have dimmed of late. This is in part due to her perceived closeness to the President.

The people close to Miriam disclaim any attempt on her part to lobby for her appointment. She herself has said that it would be an honor just to be nominated and that she is considering other career options, one of which is a prestigious U.N. post. But we need someone like Miriam in the Supreme Court, for three reasons. First, because of her scholarship. Second, because of her humanity. And thirdly, for no other reason that her proven ability to kick butt.

23 thoughts on “Miriam Defensor-Santiago for Chief Justice”

  1. If I didn’t know better I’d say Miriam is your ninang… But as her student in UP Law, how can you reconcile yourself with the fact that you participated in the 1992 Sulo Hotel operations with Puno and Sumulong (which Miriam to this day claims cheated her of the Presidency) against your law teacher which you said was “so well loved”?

  2. @anonymous – you are right. My involvement with the Sulu Hotel special ops is inconsistent with my admiration for Sen. Santiago. Its a long story and has to do with conflicting personal loyalties.

    No, Miriam is not my ninang.

  3. I like Meriam. I met her once a long time ago and we chatted a long time and NEVER have I been impressed with anyone as witty and quick to the draw. She is so awesome.. I wonder if she still loves FM radio?

  4. Miriam is an epitome of intelligence, an extraordinary example of a leader, and an inspiration to the weak ones. I am young and I haven’t known her that well but I have been once inspired by her vivid individuality.

  5. I like Miriam because she displays inspirations of being a good leader. Sincere, brave, intelligent, and witty, those describe well of herself. I want her to be president in 2010 elections. The Philippines actually needs her to regain the looming economy we have at present.

  6. The failure of Miriiam’s entry to ICJ simply implies of the Filipinos’ victory. What we need today in our politics is one who knows his/her intentions in governance, not just as like a sitting doll. Filipinos should think that now is a time of choosing a right leader who could lead our country onward. If Filipinos failed in 1992 in putting Miriam to the presidency, now, we hope that Filipinos would surely install Miriam to the palace if we want a better Philippines to live in comes 2010 and beyond. We pray for you, Miriam! Go!

  7. Miriam should take this advice: Revive your own political machinery-the Peoples’ Reform Party. Tap the youth, the student leaders, the general electorate force, the “masa” and the grassroots, cetainly you will beat Villar or Noli in 2010. More than a year mobilizing is quite a longer period. If Obama made it, no reason for you as well. We, the youth are just waiting your return in the presidential race…

  8. I’m not sure if Miriam possesses the necessary temperament to be a justice of the Supreme Court or president of the country. Anyone who resorts to personal ad hominem attacks calling a fellow public servant “fungus faced” or those who disagree with him or her as less than a human being (i.e. species of lower life forms) does not posses the detached objectivity that is a must for an effective public servant. Imagine a Supreme Court justice or a chief justice or a president who resorts to name-calling. Aside from diminishing himself or herself as well as the office to what other type of abuse will he or she resort to to express displeasure at the opposition? Is there potential to resort to grave injustice or great oppression? Yes. That is why it is very important to vet our public officials very seriously. Their public temperament will give us one clear sign how well or ill they will serve us once we give them power.

    I realize though that many people are impressed with Miriam’s credentials. That’s understandable in our country. Not many in the Philippines have achieved what Miriam has achieved in terms of academic accomplishments and the extent of her public career. But I seriously doubt that Miriam currently posseses the required temperament for an impartial judge nor the pleasant public persona, psychological acuity and gravitas of an effective president of the republic.

    I’m not at all offended that Miriam did not get an ICJ seat. In fact, I’m glad. I could only imagine how much damage Miriam could add to the already damaged image of our country. One outburst of anger, a spark of lunatic interval, a lack of verbal restraint or self-control or an insult to a fellow UN official or an air of superiority, each or any will give the international perception, at the very least, that the Philippines is a country of incompetent comedians on top of being one of the most corrupt.

  9. we want Estrada’s comeback. And, that is in the person of Jinggoy. He (Jinggoy) has charisma that could catapult the overwhelming sympathy of the masses like his father, Erap. Go! Jinggoy! We have proven you on your performance in the Senate.

  10. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is a good example in the world of law. She has a superior character to trounce the reign of evil in the Philippine political system. I believe that the warrior Lawyer deserves to be in the supreme power of the country’s politics. What I am trying point out is that my idol, Miriam, has a big chance to set down on the president’s throne. I ambition that on 2010 presidential election she will run the presidential race. If she will be the president of the Phil., I myself believe that she can make our nation best in terms of solving the rise of economic sabotage.
    She has the sardonic sense of humor to kick buff those who are practicing vices. Go! Sen Miriam we will support your moves.

  11. hay naku akala nila si Miriam Defensor-Santiago ang talunan noong 1992 elections. hahahahahah kung naiintindihan lang sana nila ang ginawa nila noon.

    ANG BANSANG PILIPINAS PO ANG TALUNAN DAHIL IPINAGKAIT NATIN SA ATING INANG BAYAN ANG PAG-ASA AT PAGBABAGO SA PAMAMAGITAN NG MAGALING AT DISIPLINADONG PAMUMUNO NA SI MIRIAM LANG ANG MAKAGAGAWA.

  12. Hon Miriam Defensor is suited for the position as a Chief Justice because she possess a personality to stand what is right, strong and always do for the welfare of the people. She is well versed of the Constitutional Law.

    It is a right time to choose her for we need a person like her in experience and already been a public servant for a long time.

    May God Bless You Always Hon. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

    Mercilia Artuz Lavina

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