THE HAGUE (ANP Features)—A glittering rock star welcome awaits Philippine Senator Miriam Santiago when she arrives to join the international criminal tribunal based in this stolid Dutch city of world renown. She will return to the Philippines after the festivities to wait for the tribunal to call her for duty.
Guests from all over Europe and the United States will grace the festivities prepared by the many admirers of the new member of the tribunal. Driving the welcome wagon are top officials of the ICC, or the Interdisciplinary Collegium of Castigators.
Members of the ICC’s worldwide network are self-styled master naggers, complainers, jeerers, hecklers, scolds and know-it-alls who take pride in showing that they’re better than anyone else.
“Madam Santiago is, how you say it, ze best practitioner of our art!” yelled Alain Sacrebleu, the Paris-based ICC president. “We have une big, big bienvenue for her.”
Members of the group are known to boo slightly less-than-perfect tenors and sopranos during opera performances at La Scala in Milan. They also heckle academic lecturers, standup comedians and speakers at various political meetings and conferences worldwide. Their forays in courtrooms, however, are relatively rare.
“Ah, but Madam Santiago is a castigatress par excellence,” Sacrebleu boasted. He patronizingly explained that Santiago specializes in over-the-top hectoring in a court of law. “Is beautifully terrific, yes, her way of humiliating ze castigatee!”
The ICC is practically emptying its treasury to host a gala dinner on May 17 at the five-star Carlton Ambassador Hotel, where Santiago will be awarded the medal of the Légion d’Horreur for her “unique achievements” in judicial abuse.
Exclusive Royal dinner
Meanwhile, diplomats are discreetly jostling for an invitation to the exclusive royal banquet honoring Santiago at the luxurious Hotel des Indes on May 18, hosted by Bristol Myers Squibb Ltd., makers of Monopril, the best-selling blood pressure medication.
Don Tavistroke, a Bristol Myers executive from London, said his company is pulling out all the stops to ensure an affair to remember. Bristol Myers hopes to make Santiago the ballistic “Before” poster girl for its new global advertising drive. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar leader, will be the inspirational “After.”
Santiago has excellent “high-blood pressure capabilities,” according to Tavistroke. In judicial proceedings it can zoom way up without making her keel over. “It’s her trademark courtroom tactic for driving a point home. ‘You made my BP rise!’ means you’re stupid.”
But it could have killed her by now, if she didn’t medicate, Tavistroke warns. “So she’s a perfect demo specimen for our wonder drug.” A world tour is not out of the question, he said.
The other ICC mum
As for the other ICC, the better-known International Criminal Court where Santiago has been appointed judge, officials kept mum about any plans for welcoming their newest colleague. Court spokeswoman Candace B. Reill tersely read an official statement to reporters:
“As far as this ICC is aware, the Assembly of States Parties gave a nine-year term to a brilliant, astute, compassionate, and poised barrister who is the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to sit in the tribunal, which tries crimes against humanity. So help us, God.”
Santiago was named to the world body before her brash and much criticized performance in the impeachment of the chief justice of the Philippines, where at one time she loudly castigated prosecutors as stupid.
Just days after her controversial performance made the news, some ICC judges were seen wandering aimlessly in the court’s hallways, in their robes, mumbling to themselves, “Wha—she’ll be with us for, oh jeez, nine years? What do we do now?”
Object of close scrutiny
Santiago is also the guest of honor at the 45th World Transference of Freudians, or WTF, on May 20. She will give the keynote speech at a grand salon at the surreal, Dali-designed Hotel Cathexis. Convention organizers have ordered hundreds of couches for the intimate event.
“It is our dream to observe and study this famous jurist. Her behavior inspires many Freudian psychoanalysts, BTW,” WTF vice president Dr. Oedipus Angst of Vienna let slip.
“Sometimes a judge is just a judge,” Angst noted, “but Madam Santiago symbolically likes to seize her male opponents by the crotch, shall we say, and crack their, uh, how to put it delicately–she shows a lot of peanuts envy.”
However, in the nearby seaside neighborhood of Scheveningen, an altogether different crowd of revelers will descend on the boardwalk and proceed to Holland Casino on May 22. A strange organization is hosting an unseemly, all-night champagne and caviar, no-holds-barred “reception for Judge Miriam.”
“It’s a grand party with her as the cynosure of all eyes,” gushed Sir Inman Paine, the English chairman of the Organisation for the Exploration of Sado-Masochism, or ORGESM.
“Philippinos should be proud that Missy Miriam is arguably the most accomplished dominatrix of our time,” Paine moaned.
“In her presence, all our masochists will suffer deliciously, while our sadists will ecstatically like to watch. Whips, chains optional. It will be more fun,” he added.
A skeptical reporter asked Paine if Santiago even knew that his group was honoring her. Perhaps ORGESM was just cashing in on the publicity she was getting to draw a huge turnout to their orgy.
Paine beggingly responded, “Go ahead, Mr. Reporter. Libel me! I can take it like your slave. Yess! Hohhmigawd! YEHSSS!!”
FLASH: Probably shamed into action by the flurry of unofficial receptions for Santiago, the International Criminal Court, through its public information office, finally announced that it is hosting an official welcome for her after all.
“In keeping with the dignified character of the institution,” the announcement read, “the reception will be a low-key dinner at Garoeda, a traditional rijstafel restaurant. It will be Dutch treat.” – Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau, Den Haag