Palace insists Miriam Santiago was never ICC judge
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said it was standing by its view that Miriam Defensor Santiago’s election to the International Criminal Court (ICC) was void even as the late senator’s sister demanded an apology and a retraction of the statement.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he was sorry for hurting Linn Defensor-Evangelista’s feelings, but won’t back down from his stand on Filipino appointments to the ICC.
“I think I will apologize for hurting her feelings, but I think she misunderstood what I said,” Panelo said on Tuesday.
“That’s why I’m apologizing for hurting her, but I think the concern, and the hurt is misplaced,” Panelo added.
On Monday, Panelo said the appointment of Santiago to the ICC in 2011 should be considered void because the Philippines was never officially a member of the international body.
Panelo, however, said the Philippine government need not pull out former law dean Raul Pangalangan from the ICC as the Philippines was never under ICC jurisdiction.
These views elicited a Facebook post from Evangelista, who said the remarks were inaccurate, especially since the Philippine government funded Santiago’s campaign.
Evangelista added that Panelo’s statement was “immoral and extremely disrespectful,” since Santiago was no longer around to defend her belief that the Philippines was part of the ICC.
“To say that the Philippine membership in the ICC is not valid and that Miriam was not a valid ICC judge is irresponsible, offensive and full of malice,” said Evangelista.
“At a minimum, this person should withdraw this pronouncement and apologize,” she added, without naming Panelo.
Panelo insisted on his belief that any Philippine appointment to the ICC would be void in light of the Philippines’ current stand that it was never under the international court’s purview.
He added that he was an “admirer and friend” of the late senator, whom he said was “very much qualified to be a justice.”
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