May her legacy guide our nation – Duterte

The Philippine Star

HANOI – President Duterte paid tribute to former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday, expressing hope that her legacy would “continue to guide this nation for many years to come.”

“We express our deepest sorrow over (her) passing,” Duterte said.

The President, who was here for a visit, said in a statement that Santiago left a sterling career in public service and would “be best remembered as a graft buster eating death threats for breakfast.”

For this, she became known as the Iron Lady of Asia.

“As a constitutionalist, she has always been an advocate for the rule of law. Rest in peace, Madam Senator,” Duterte said.

The President was informed about Santiago’s death before he started his official activities here that kicked off with the wreath laying at the National Monument for Heroes and Martyrs.

Malacañang called Santiago a “shining light in Philippine political annals for her sharp legal mind, uncompromising stand and acid humor.”

“She had a profound influence on millennials and the youth, constantly challenging preconceived notions both political and social,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press conference.

“Her passing also signals the passing of an era of politicians with wide ranging intelligence and courage to express their true conviction,” he added.

Santiago was one of Duterte’s rivals during the 2016 presidential elections but the two did not engage in any bickering during the campaign.

In fact, Duterte even praised Santiago during one of the presidential debates.

During the debate held in Pangasinan last April 24, the tough talking Duterte chose to flatter Santiago instead of asking her a question.

“I am facing a woman who could become the president of this country,” Duterte, who was then mayor of Davao City, said.

“What can I ask of you? It is an insult to ask a question of such a learned woman. My question Ma’am is, how are you today?” he added.

A smiling Santiago replied that she was “almost back to normal good health” because of a “secret pill” that was not yet in the market.

“(The pill) is being sold at atrociously expensive prices. It’s a miracle worker in a sense that I am almost normal now,” Santiago said.

Duterte then remarked: “Oh come on, you’ll live for a thousand years. No doubt about it. I rest my case.”

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