Miriam confirms run, regales judges | Inquirer News

Miriam confirms run, regales judges

05:00 AM October 16, 2015

SEN. MIRIAM Defensor-Santiago amused regional court judges Thursday with a stream of courtroom anecdotes and jokes as she received the Hall of Fame Award from the Philippine Judges Association (PJA).

The 70-year-old senator, who early this week announced her presidential bid, told the PJA members that she aspired to be President of the country.

She said law students loved to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the American jurist who served as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, known for his opinions and the most widely cited US high court justice in history.


“But he is not of the highest virtue. The highest virtue in government is the President of the Philippines, that is why I am not running for the position of Oliver Wendell Holmes,” Santiago said in a speech she delivered before receiving the award.


Her speech was peppered with funny stories from her time as a regional trial court judge. Santiago was appointed to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Her punch lines were met with raucous laughter.

“I was hearing a case of  simple theft. The lawyer asked the accused: Hindi ba magnanakaw ka? Sabi ng akusado, Judge,  ’wag mo naman akong insultuhin nang ganyan, hindi naman ako magnanakaw; pickpocket lang ako (Aren’t you a thief? The accused said, Judge do not insult me. I am not a thief but only a pickpocket).”

“Sabi ng lawyer sa witness,  ‘Mukha po kayong matalinong tao.’ I would like to return the compliment but I swore to tell the truth.”

“Kung palpak ang lawyer, tatagal ang kaso, kung magaling ang lawyer, mas matagal pa ang kaso (If the lawyer is incompetent, the case will move slowly, if the lawyer is good, the case will move even slower).”

She even made a joke of her nonpostponement policy when she was a trial judge.


“No postponement for any reason except death. Counsel, you have to die before I postpone,” she said.

She quipped that she hoped there would not be a postponement of the presidential election in May 2016.

Santiago takes pride in having served in all three branches of government—the judicial, executive and legislative.

She was also the first Asian to be elected  a judge to the United Nations International Criminal Court. But she had to resign the position due to illness.

Marikina RTC Judge Geraldine Macaraig, who introduced the senator, said the fearless Santiago holds an amazing record in the three branches of government, with her record of pork barrel funds’ use  unmarred, citing the Commission on Audit.

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“Even cancer cells are afraid of Senator Santiago,” Macaraig said.

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