Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago won the first round of voting for the position of judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, December 13, reports GMA News Online. According to the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the ICC, the senator won with a total of 79 votes, beating out her closest opponent by 7 votes.

“It’s a big deal since she got enough votes in the first round of voting, meaning she doesn’t need to go through the second round,” GMA quotes the senator’s media officer, Tom Tolibas, as saying.

The ICC is an international body tasked with the prosecution of individuals for war crimes and crimes against humanity when their countries are unwilling or unable to ensure that justice is served in these cases; it is based in The Hague, in The Netherlands.

Her nine-year appointment as judge to the ICC will necessitate her resignation from Senate in order to move to The Netherlands. GMA quotes an October interview with the senator, in which she joked, “I’ll have to resign [as senator]. Isn’t that good news for my enemies? I would have to live in The Hague. I will look like a European and speak like a European and I will be as snooty as a European when I come back.”

Still, her resignation will not be immediate; in a radio dzBB interview on Tuesday, Santiago mentioned plans to stay on as a senator for at least a year, as long as she isn’t called to The Hague in the meantime. Although her ICC oath-taking is slated for March 2012, the senator was adamant in her assurance that she would still be taking part in the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona.

May masamang balita ako sa aking kalaban,” GMA quotes her as saying. “Hindi ako agad aalis ng Pilipinas. Sa March pa ang oath-taking. Kahit oath-taking hindi pa kami maka-report sa korte sa Netherlands. Maaring isang taon pa ako rito. (I have bad news for my enemies. I’m not leaving the Philippines just yet. My oath-taking isn’t until March. And even after I take the oath, I won’t be reporting to the courts in The Netherlands yet. It’s possible I’ll still be here for another year.)”

To read the full story, go to GMA News Online.


For more on Miriam Defensor Santiago, check out the following articles:

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(Photo from the office of Miriam Defensor-Santiago)

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