The U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), an organization of Filipino Americans, who subscribe to and actively advocate for the goal of competent, honest and progressive governance in their Philippine homeland, are now asking the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands to reconsider the election of the feisty Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago to the ICC to rid the national and international forums of “a person who is emotionally or psychologically unstable, prone to fits of uncontrollable rage, lacking in patience and empathy, ruthless with the feelings of fellow human beings, bereft of civility and uncaring about decorum (who) does not deserve a place in your honorable court.”
Lawyers Rodel Rodis and Loida Nicolas Lewis, convenors of the USP4GG, are circulating an online petition “for fear that you may construe her uncivilized behavior and her loose ethics as epitomizing the Filipino people.”
Mr. Rodis said in a mass email that when someone asked him why President Noynoy Aquino nominated Santiago to the ICC, he surmised it could have been a blessing in disguise so Mr. Aquino can simply fulfill “his promise to rid the country of wangwangs (loud sirens).” Rodis said while he is not an apologist of Mr. Aquino, he (Aquino) had also made mistakes in his appointments (Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr. as PAGCOR chief), which “we are free to condemn.”
In a separate mass email, Attorney Lewis, Santiago’s co-alumna at the University of the Philippines, said, “We do not have the illusion of being successful in removing Senator Miriam but we are giving her notice that her continued antics are not acceptable to Global Filipinos now that she is in the Global arena.
“Something said is something heard. She thinks that she can do and can say whatever she wants with impunity. Our petition shows that a group of Filipinos Overseas will not tolerate her disrespectful uncouth behavior.”
“IF SHE EMBARASSES HERSELF …. WE WARNED YOU.”
Mr. Rodis added, “If we succeed, good. The world can thank us for sparing them of having to deal with Miriam problem. It will also serve as a lesson to politicians in the Philippines that overseas Filipinos are a force to be reckoned with. So what if she stays on until 2016? She will hopefully realize that she can cow her colleagues in the Senate but she can’t cow overseas Filipinos
“If we don’t succeed (in removing her) and Sen. Miriam becomes an ICC Judge and embarrasses herself (and the Philippines) by ‘going Miriam’ (like ‘going postal’ in the US), then, we can say, hey guys, we warned you. And we did what we believed to be the right thing to do.”
The petition that has so far collected more than 350 signatures said:
“We are respectfully bringing to your attention a serious matter that affects the image and reputation of the Philippines and, potentially, the image and reputation of the International Criminal Court.
“As an independent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and as a court committed to the observance of the highest standards of fairness and due process, we respectfully assume that you require those you have elected to your roster of judges to meet the most stringent standards.
“In addition to mastery of international jurisprudence and forensic skills, we assume that you also require a sound mind, emotional and psychological stability, unsullied integrity and incorruptibility, as well as patience, civility and impeccable decorum.
LAPSE OF GOOD JUDGMENT ON PH PART
“We further submit that an individual who has admitted to having publicly lied and who has demonstrated partiality, prejudice, lack of principles and questionable integrity as a public official does not deserve to be a judge, much less a judge of the International Criminal Court.
“In this regard, we regret to inform you that such an undeserving individual has been elected to the International Criminal Court, in a lapse of good judgment on the part of the government of the Republic of the Philippines.”
Marlon L. Pecson, a USP4GG member in Chicago, Illinois, likened Senator Santiago to a barnacle, which attaches herself to whoever is in power. Although she became an ally of former President Joseph Estrada, Ms. Santiago was among the 11 Senators, who voted to suppress the opening of bank accounts in the second envelop during the impeachment trial of Mr. Estrada, prompting the prosecution to walk out, triggering Estrada’s ouster during EDSA People Power 2 in 2001.
When Ms. Santiago ran for Senate in 2004, she joined the ticket of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who nominated Ms. Santiago to ICC. When President Aquino took power, she again solicited the help of Mr. Aquino to support her nomination to ICC.
Mr. Pecson, grandson of the first Filipino woman senator, Geronima Pecson, said, “And again today in the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, she is openly showing partiality to the defense of CJ Corona by siding to suppress the bank records of Mr. Corona.”
“BOORISH AND BIZARRE BEHAVIOR”
The petition described Senator Santiago as having “boorish and bizarre behavior.” Attached in it are “various reports and online commentaries on the vulgarity, total lack of civility and decorum, emotional instability and lack of integrity of Senator Defensor-Santiago.”
One of these accounts was a Wall Street Journal story written by James Hookway dated March 1, 2012, which described the 66-year-old Santiago, who “swore at prosecutors for dropping several charges in the heavily politicized trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who is accused of obstructing justice.
“I felt like creeping back into bed and adopting a fetal position, which is the normal reaction of any sane person when he’s faced with a world that is crumbling around him,” Ms. Santiago said. “I no longer know what universe I am in.” She then went on to label the prosecutors as gago, an offensive term in the Philippines which loosely translates as “stupid.”
It also included excerpts from a column of Conrado de Quiros of the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated June 30, 2005:
“Well, I wasn’t completely astounded that Miriam did so. That is one person God gave a head, if a much-unhinged one, but not a heart. That is one person who has developed a capacity to quote law but not to glimpse justice. She it was who also defended Joseph Estrada to high heavens during his impeachment trial, using her lawyerly skills and apparently constitutional expertise to hide the truth rather than burnish it.”
In a news account last March 5, Senator Santiago argued with a priest (Fr. Catalino Arevalo) that there is no such place as hell when the priest suggested in an interview that she should be consigned to the fires of hell when she called “fool” the prosecution team in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.