Miriam, Warrior Princess


Miriam, Warrior Princess

She is the Warrior Princess of Philippine Politics, and she has just lost another battle of wits. She is not going to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines; the members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) have made sure of that. I don’t blame them.

Today, 4 December, the gentlemen of the JBC selected her out of their short list of nominees for that position. Do I see those gentlemen intimidated by a Chief Justice who, while she believes in the President of her country, doesn’t patronize anybody?

If I were history, I would be kind to her, she who talks what’s in her mind, and which ladies and gentlemen of the jury don’t like. When she’s angry, she’s mad, and while her grammar is perfect, her language is not. But I forgive her, because she’s a genius. Eccentric, yes; not all eccentrics are geniuses, but all geniuses are eccentrics. Take it from me.

I thought she would have made a perfect Chief Justice. She has a brilliant legal mind – necessary for critical thinking. She has a bright artistic mind – necessary for creative thinking. Law is not all logic; there must be art so that the lawyer can put her heart in it. If anything, she is all heart. ‘Warrior Princess’ says it all.

She graduated from UP Diliman in Quezon City with her Bachelor of Laws a cum laude, didn’t she? And from the University of Michigan Law School earned her Master of Laws and Doctor of the Science of Jurisprudence in only 1.5 years, she did. Not many can do that. She chose government service over private practice, she did. Not many do that. And she chose to be a warrior for good government. Not many choose that. The photo shows her on the cover of the Philippines Free Press, the fightingiest magazine in the country in awe of her.

She’s a writer above ordinary mortals. As a columnist, she wrote for a national daily and I remember reading her and knowing she was very good at it. I also remember reading with an editor’s eye the final manuscript of her book of short stories published by New Day Publishers entitled A Frabjous Day & Other Stories in 1997. I found it superb reading. My only editorial contribution to it was to suggest that a younger Miriam grace the cover (the past) and a more mature Miriam occupy the back cover (the present). The past informs the present. She agreed. If you thought law and art don’t mix, you don’t know enough of genius.

In my native land, #1 is female (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo); #2 is male (Manuel Villar) – they don’t want #3 female. In this matriarchal society, is the male of the species really afraid of the female of the species?

I suspect that Miriam’s challenge was too much for them, whoever they are: Make me the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, she dared them all. An unprecedented call, even if the Philippines is a matriarchal society, even if we have had two lady presidents of the country. I don’t mind if we have a Lady Chief Justice. But they do. The challenge is too much – against tradition, against male ego.

Since I don’t have the list of criteria the JBC used to select/deselect the nominees for Chief Justice, let me come up with my own. And it is this:

(1) knows Philippine laws inside out – so the man can apply the appropriate law when necessary

(2) known for being independent-minded – so the man can put into both theory and practice what the role demands

(3) known for elegance of thinking – so the man can discern the spirit of the law

(4) known life’s great unkindnesses – so the man can cause the wheels of justice to grind faster and yield more law to those who have less in life.

My list of course describes Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, political animal extraordinaire.

But the die is cast. The JBC have crossed the Rubicon. We will never have Miriam as Chief Justice. I hope we will always have Miriam, Warrior Princess of her country, in or out of the Senate.

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One Comment on “Miriam, Warrior Princess”

  1. Vince of Davao Says:

    I agree with you. Miriam is undeniably the Warrior Princess of Philippine politics.

    When she was nominated for the post of Chief justice, I thought Miriam will be the first woman chief justice of the Philippines. Sayang, excited pa naman ako na siya’y uupo bilang Chief Justice, kasi sigurado na Linggo-linggo may tiwaling judge na mapapatalsik.

    I’m happy but at the same time sad that she is one of the candidates for the post of ICJ Judge. Happy, because if she makes it to ICJ she will give honor to the Philippines. Sad, because if she makes it to ICJ she will leave the Philippines and that it may dim her chances for the 2010 presidential elections. I want her to be the president of the Philippines. God bless you Miriam.

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