Sen. Miriam Santiago joins Bill Gates in 'Rule of Law' Council

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has gained another nod from the global community as she was invited to join Microsoft founder Bill Gates and other luminaries in an elite council of advisers for the Rome-based International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

Miriam to join Bill Gates, et al in 'rule of law' council.
Miriam to join Bill Gates, et al in 'rule of law' council. Photo Credit: @senmiriam/Twitter
As part of the IDLO International Advisory Council, Santiago will "provide critical, forward-looking guidance on the issues IDLO tackles in order to make a culture of justice real for all the people of the world," IDLO Director-General Irene Khan said in a letter to the senator.

The IDLO is an intergovernmental organization devoted to promoting the rule of law. Khan said that its advisory council is composed of "individuals of international reputation for extraordinary leadership in addressing rule of law, justice, and development issues."

Besides Gates, council members include former Ireland President Mary Robinson; former Senegal President Abdou Diouf; Abdel-Latif Al-Hamad, chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development; Albie Sachs, former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; and former U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering.

"I am honored yet humbled to receive the invitation from IDLO. It challenges me to place my lifetime career as a lawyer and legislator in a larger frame of service for the pursuit of justice and international development," Santiago said.

Before being invited to the IDLO Council, Santiago became the first Filipino and the first Asian from a developing country to be elected judge of the International Criminal Court, the independent tribunal that prosecutes individuals for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

She waived her post in 2013 due to chronic fatigue syndrome, which was later diagnosed as lung cancer, stage four. In October, Santiago announced that her cancer has been arrested, and that she is running for president in the 2016 polls.

"If elected in May, and with the consent of IDLO, I expect to serve both as president of the Philippines and member of the International Advisory Council," the senator said.

Santiago was presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City when she first catapulted into popularity, receiving numerous awards for her no-postponement policy and for unburdening the court of backlogs.

She was then appointed Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation, for which she won the Asian Nobel Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service. Santiago also became Secretary of Agrarian Reform. In 1992, she ran for president and never conceded defeat.

At the Senate, Santiago is known as the resident constitutional law and international law expert. She has Doctor of Juridical Science and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Michigan, and a law degree, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines.

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