Miriam Defensor Santiago quits post in International Criminal Court

miriam santiago resigns from international criminal court
Senator Miriam Santiago's resignation letter for the International Criminal Court (Credits: Pia Gutierrez of ABS-CBN News)

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has formally relinquished her position as one of the justices of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

In a letter addressed to ICC president Sang-Hyun Song, Santiago cited her health as the reason for her decision.

Since I was elected in December 2011, I have secured neither alleviation nor nor treatment from the medical profession for my illness, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” Santiago said.

ABS-CBN’s Pia Gutierrez was the first to upload a copy of Santiago’s resignation letter through her Twitter account.

miriam santiago resigns from international criminal court
Senator Miriam Santiago’s resignation letter for the International Criminal Court (Credits: Pia Gutierrez of ABS-CBN News)

Santiago was the first Filipino and first woman from Asia to be elected to the ICC. She was scheduled to take her oath of office by March 2012 but she failed to do so because of her fluctuating blood pressure. Also, the impeachment proceedings against then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was also in full swing during that time.

Since getting elected, her resignation from the Senate has been the subject of intense speculations from various quarters. At one point, Santiago wrote a letter to Commission on Elections Chair Sixto Brillantes clarifying that she does not intend to step down from her Senate seat prior to the 2013 midterm elections.

“The ICC Charter, also known as the Rome Statute, provides that any incumbent judge shall not be allowed to retire, until he finishes any trial where he participated,” the senator explained.

Despite getting elected to the ICC, Santiago retained a high profile in the Philippine Senate. She’s one of only three senators to vote for the acquittal of Corona at the conclusion of his impeachment trial. Later in 2012, she played a leading role in the eventual passage of Republic Act 10354 or the Reproductive Health Law.

Although her lingering illness forced her to go on an indefinite leave for much of 2013, the media focused on her highly-publicized word war against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as well as her grilling of Janet Lim-Napoles during a hearing late last year.

Road to 2016?

Had she assumed her position as an ICC justice, Santiago would have been away from the country for nine years, effectively removing her from the Philippine political scene. Now, her decision to give up that post will widen her options for 2016.

She’s now serving her second term in the Senate, which means she cannot run for reelection for 2016. She can choose to retire from public service or run for higher office.

According to a recent Pulse Asia survey, she’s ranked third in the list of presidential contenders. Santiago may be turning 69 later this month, but her connection to the youth is very strong as proven by the warm reception she receives during speaking engagements around the country as well as her loyal following in the social media.

However, if she eventually gets persuaded to run, her health will definitely surface as a campaign issue.

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

3 Comments on Miriam Defensor Santiago quits post in International Criminal Court

  1. Mirian Defensor Santiago was on of the most intellectual public servant in the Philippines, her knowledge was even recognized by appointing her at the ICC, when I heard about this news that she resign from the ICC, I wondered why?. buy when I heard from the news last week that she is suffering from Stage 4 Lung Cancer, then all my question where answered. She will be a mark on our Politics and a pillar on our Senate.

    Fajardo, Ronee Angela S.
    Holy Angel University
    Rizal F-332 CBA

  2. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

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