MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has again delayed her nine-year stint as judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in The Netherlands to address the pork barrel controversy hounding Congress.
Santiago told Radyo Inquirer 990AM she had asked the tribunal to postpone her appointment until January 2014 to give her time to recover from illness and speak out on the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
A couple of years ago, the senator asked to delay assumption of the prestigious position because she had just been elected as senator and later because of the impeachment trial against former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“Ngayon naman meron akong sakit. At maliban dyan itong pork barrel scandal na sa tingin ko naman dapat magsalita ako… Para sabihin ng tao meron pa akong tapang na sabihin ang totoo,” she said.
(“Now I have an illness. And besides that this pork barrel scandal which I think I should voice my thoughts…So people would say I still have the guts to tell the truth,” she said.)
Santiago said she is already running out of reasons and “running out of patience with [her] fellow senators.”
She accused other lawmakers of behaving like “mercenaries” who follow whatever the president says in exchange of PDAF. Santiago said she was not referring to President Benigno Aquino III but a former president who she said was “truly evil” and “a thief.”
In the same interview, Santiago accused Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind in the pork barrel scam, of having “pork barrel warriors [in the Senate and Congress who] defend and protect her.”
Santiago was the first Filipino elected as judge to the ICC, which tries cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
As the candidate with the highest votes, she was supposed to be the first called upon by the ICC. However, because of the said circumstances, she gave way to the other elected judges. The ICC calls upon a new judge when an incumbent set to retire has disposed of all his pending trials.