Senator Santiago, a Phlippine Judges’ Hall of Fame Awardee

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.
– Napoleon Hill

On October 15, 2015, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago was officially elevated to the Judges Hall of Fame in Pasay City; a recognition much deserve which should have been awarded earlier than this time. Her delivered speech contained significant truth of which when taken seriously will serve as awakening among authorities brought to office by the power of public trust as well as to all citizens of the country who value shared wisdom from well-experienced public servant. Here are some of the noteworthy points to be shared according to the senator’s speech.

First, the senator pointed out that the main problem in the senate is that they are almost rib-tickling or laughable in contrast to the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) which is never a place for amusement or a circus. She emphasized that as a formerly appointed judge in the RTC, every hour is of importance. Every minute counts in the name of one’s commitment to public service.

Secondly, the senator stated that “in the process of justice, the living are governed by the dead,” which she further elaborated that it is something distinctive about the engagement of the legal profession as a subject in the academe. Being a former law professor herself at the University of the Philippines (UP) after her civil service duty as an RTC judge. To her, jurisprudential terms that are trending or applicable today are stated by lawyers as well as constantly recite cases referring to the old cases which have parallelism or connection to the present, not to mention that these cases cited could even be more currently relevant than at the time they were publicized.

Thirdly, the Philippine Judge’s Hall of Fame awardee quoted Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s profound perception towards but his words resonate through these days in the government worthy to ponder as credence for all.

“The law, so far as it depends on learning, is indeed, as it has been called, the government of the living by the dead. To a very considerable extent no doubt it is inevitable that the living should be so governed. The past gives us our vocabulary and fixes the limits of our imagination; we cannot get away from it. There is, too, a peculiar logical pleasure in making manifest the continuity between what we are doing and what has been done before. But the present has a right to govern itself so far as it can; and it ought always to be remembered that historic continuity with the past is not a duty, it is only a necessity.”

The fourth significant point expressed by the senator was that of the difficulty of being a judge. She further divulged that people perceive a judge to just comfortably listen to both sides of argument. She expanded that being a judge is the zenith of human goals which attempts to provide peace and contentment for all as a wholesome profession. To the senator, the regional trial courts’ ultimate aim is to provide unity not to mention the fact that there are some endeavors in the society that shatter things apart.

Finally, Senator Santiago mentioned merging community socialization in the profession as another difficulty faced by judges of the Supreme Court. She enthused that while it is true that they cannot live as monks do, socializing and fraternizing so easily aren’t possible. Also, she expounded that cowardice has no place in the profession’s practice due to the existence of cases who choose to eradicate judges. For this reason, bravery and firm judgment is highly required. She cited some circumstances like her capability to deny postponement believing that public office is a public trust, paved the way for this former judge to garner earlier awards. As a recipient for the Ten Outstanding Young Men and the Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service awards, she firmly believes that by observing the appropriate protocols during case trials, the visions of the Supreme Court can be exceedingly realized.

She remarked that there were many other treasured components of the judge’s tasks that were successfully performed, unfortunately, authorities never recognized due to an existing society where all is almost baffling. To her, to be a judge is an emblem or a source of knowledge and fairness. She explicated, “A judge walking down the halls and corridors of power summarizes the best in the human being, the desire to be better than ourselves, to help our fellow man, to be a person not only of power and influence, but to be what a human being should be, who helps others obtain the justice destined to be ours from birth.”

The Senator resolutely unveiled that commendation of one to be recognized under an excelled profession should not be a supplicatory process like in the case of the Philippine Judges Association that acknowledges judges’ righteous achievement through endorsement. Award-deserving individuals need not beg for recommendation to be recognized. Adoring the bravery and rectitude of judges like herself, she ended her worth absorbing speech with significant lines from William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus.

“It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”/


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