Miriam Defensor Santiago, the Philippine Senator and Condolezza Rice, the US Secretary of State have something in common. High-powered and articulate, both women are apparently very intelligent. But their similarity quickly ends there.
A prodigy of Czech émigré Josef Korbel who inspired her to study Soviet affairs and world relations, Condi Rice, the astute black international peace broker from Birmingham, Alabama, has been earnestly diplomatic in pushing US policies in the world stage. On the other hand, Miriam Santiago, a self-made Visayan legislator, has been blunt and caustic in dealing with her colleagues, to an extent that baffles the public.
No wonder when Santiago complained that the Lopezes, owners of the ABS-CBN news outfit and stake-holders of Meralco were out to sabotage her candidacy as a jurist in the International Court of Justice (ICJ,) some people didn’t take her seriously. Filipinos assumed she had enough hyperbole, humor, and hubris that made her allegation seemed like another post-climacteric tantrum.
Santiago asserted ABS-CBN’s article on her candidacy was a form of blackmail— “a diabolic attempt to ensure that foreign countries will be influenced to vote against me, as the Philippine national candidate to the ICJ.” Daily Tribune (05/27/08, Rosales,A)
This brand of piquant accusation by Santiago made Filipinos laugh over her foes’ long-standing apprehension over her labile mental state. Claiming that her intelligence was superior, the UP-educated lawyer from Iloilo challenged President Joseph Estrada for an IQ competition. She claimed she would “jump from a plane” if the move to depose Estrada prospered, but only to say later with a giggle that her preposterous statement was a lie.
She called fellow senators and congressmen “idiots” who’d been intimidated to lock horns with her, whether in a swanky debate to thresh out legislative issues or in a plain collegial wrangle. When she talked, many senators listened. Probably, there were stunned by her self-patronizing erudition and blabbertalk.
That’s why restraint and decorum was far from her when she recklessly declared (to the embarrassment of the country,) that China “invented corruption” for which she later apologized.
In this backdrop of Santiago’s bipolar display of gutsy “brilliance” and bizarre thinking process, President Gloria M. Arroyo nominated her to the ICJ in July 30, 2007—a move actively promoted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which believes she’ll be a fine addition to the august body of international jurists.
But of course, Filipinos who know her better are skeptical.
Critical of Sen. Miriam Santiago’s solipsistic approach to reality, an internet blog by Jemy Gatdula, a Manila-based university mentor who specializes on the law of international economics and World Trade Organization asserted,
“If, heaven forbid, she does get to be part of the ICJ, she will have her views, writings, and opinions dissected, analyzed, and critiqued as minutely and as unforgiving as possible. That is part of international law practice. What will she do when that happens? Call the international law scholars, international lawyers, government officials, and international tribunal members as “worms” or “idiots” in her usual raving manner?” Blurry Brain (05/28/08 Gatdula J.)
The Supreme Court, the country’s highest judicial body whose opinion counts on such nominations as the ICJ, has given her no endorsement. ==0==