Miriam skips ICC oath-taking, vows impeach vote

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 01 2012 12:46 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2012 12:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands has allowed Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to defer taking her oath because of medical reasons.

She was supposed to take her oath next week, on March 9. She is one of six new judges who were voted to join the ICC last December.

Santiago said her hypertension and “lazy bone marrow” rendered her unfit for long travel and extended stay abroad.

Her hypertension was aggravated yesterday because of a standoff with a private prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

She snapped at lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre and asked that the impeachment court cite him for contempt for covering his ears while she was admonishing the prosecution. The court cited Aguirre for contempt.
The incident reportedly raised Santiago's blood pressure to 190/90.

“Just to make sure that I shall be physically fit when I transfer residence and office to The Hague, I have already made known to the ICC president my request that of the six new judges, if possible, I should be the last one to be called for duty,” she said.

This means that she will still be able to vote in Corona's impeachment trial “by about May.”

She said that pursuant to instructions from the ICC, she will not resign from the Senate, until she has definitely been called to duty.

Under ICC rules, an outgoing judge is required to continue working even past retirement age, until all pending cases where the judge has participated in have been finished.

Since the ICC cannot predict when a particular trial will be finished, no judge is able to tell in advance when he or she will be free to retire.