Miriam loses ICJ seat

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago gave a good fight in her bid for a seat in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) even as Malacanang is taking in stride the formers loss in the United Nations body.

“Election balloting show that Miriam’s candidacy has fallen short of the required number to get a seat. We should have to submit to the collective decision of the UN. Miriam would have been a good member of that Tribunal,” Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said.

Dureza also said that Santiago’s fate had it that the good lady senator is more needed here in the country.

The Philippine Mission to the United Nations reported to the Palace that Santiago came in strong during the initial voting in the morning but had to yield the fifth and final seat in the international court to Somalia during the fourth round of balloting early in the evening.

Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, led Filipino diplomats in the final stretch of the yearlong campaign, said the Philippines still emerged victorious despite the setback even as he lauded Santiago for accepting the nomination to become the second Filipino to serve in the ICJ.

“This is still a victory for the Philippines,” Davide said.

“We may have not won the seat but our campaign heightened the awareness of the international community on the need for gender balance and empowerment of women in the world’s major judicial organ,” Davide said.

“Senator Santiago has proved herself worthy of the campaign and has heightened the respect of the international community for herself and for her country,” Davide said.

Davide said Senator Santiago, who sought to replicate the election to the ICJ of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Cesar Bengson in 1966, emerged in the top five in the first round of balloting in the General Assembly but was not able to muster enough votes in the Security Council, thus forcing both UN organs to go into subsequent rounds of voting to determine who among the four remaining candidates will fill up the last vacant seat.

Under ICJ rules, a candidate must obtain the absolute majority of votes in both the 15-member Security Council and the 192-member General Assembly to be declared a winner.

Elected during the first round of balloting in both the General Assembly and the Security Council were Christopher Greenwood of the United Kingdom; Ronny Abraham of France; Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil; and reelectionist Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan. Elected in the fourth and final round of balloting was Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia.