Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She reached for the stars and fell back to earth

Senator Miriam Santiago really really wanted to be at the International Court of Justice. But she lost her bid and now she's back to the muck of the Senate where she has to share space with obviously lesser mortals.

So what went wrong? Several news reports said her election was assured as nine members of the Security Council gave written promises of support. But Senator Santiago said only five ultimately supported her; the other four reneged.

The reason for Sen Santiago's failed bid is simply our country's lack of political clout in the international community. And we were beaten by Somalia no less.

Why is this so? Because President Arroyo is perceived as weak in the international community. Even ASEAN, our very neighbors, almost brothers to us, did not solidly support Sen Santiago's bid. Utterly unacceptable. If we can not expect ASEAN to help us, who will? Now, we hear even Barack Obama does not return the calls of President Arroyo.

We as a country do not actively collect IOU's from other countries. When another country asks us a favor, we just do it. Despite the high calibre of our foreign service officers, it's embarrassing that we don't have a foreign policy. We never find a treaty we don't like(except the Rome Statute which we didn't sign because US told us not to). People in our embassies, demoralized as they are by events back home, just attend cocktails and wait for a Filipina maid to be executed to get busy doing what Filipino diplomats do best: supplicate.

Senator Santiago, in the greater karmic logic of the universe, is also not blameless. A justice in the ICJ is supposed to uphold the law. In her analysis of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, she said the treaty was unlawful and yet she championed it in the Senate nonetheless. In pushing for the JPEPA, she played power politics to her advantage. But at the United Nations, other countries played power politics on her and, this time, she lost.


Anonymous said...

Like what the mighty Rolling Stones once sang,

"You can't always get what you want
But it you try sometimes
You might find
You get what you need..."

Ronnel Lim said...

Hmm, but I dont think Miriam has a need for the Senate, except perhaps in some sadomasochistic sense of getting herself entertained.

I dont know about most people, but I cant help but feel sad for her losing the bid, notwithstanding her inexplicable position re the JPEPA. It would have been a great honor for the country, assuming, of course, she doesnt flare up.

Ronnel Lim said...

Incidentally, China did not support her bid, but chose to support Jordan. Whatever happened to the Chinese saying that a close neighbor is more precious than a distant relative? The Philippines is a close neighbor and yet China supported a distant non-relative even.

The senator should ahve been more circumspect in attributing the invention of corruption to the Chinese.

Anonymous said...

No, that's what she needs. To be with mere mortals.

Surely somebody less ballistic, less partisan, deserves to give the country the honor we crave. In any case, Santiago hasn't exactly been the bastion of justice, nor of sanity even. It's no loss, we can do better :-)

Until then, we remain, a speck in the radar.