Supporters missing Miriam Defensor Santiagoâs wit, fiery stance on government issues
Throughout her remarkable career as a public servant, late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago was known as a firebrand who championed the rule of law and waged war on corruption.
Efigenio Toledo IV/File

Supporters missing Miriam Defensor Santiago’s wit, fiery stance on government issues

(The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s brilliance, moral courage, signature wit and fiery stance against corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency and incompetence are sorely missed by her supporters in this time of many challenges besetting the country. 

Santiago, who had served all three branches of government with a sterling record of public service for nearly 30 years, passed away on Sept. 29, 2016 after a short battle with lung cancer. 

Throughout her remarkable career as a public servant, Santiago was known as a firebrand who championed the rule of law and waged war on corruption.

On her second death anniversary on Sept. 29, Santiago’s family and supporters continue to mourn her passing and her absence from the national political scene.

Former health secretary Esperanza Cabral, a close friend of the late senator, said: “I miss her as a friend and I miss her for what she could be doing for our country in these challenging times.”

Tom Tolibas, Santiago’s former media relations officer in the Senate, said: “The Senate in the 17th Congress and beyond is the post-Miriam Senate. We miss Miriam because she made herself a necessary fixture in the Senate since 1995. She has no successor, no replacement, no ‘New Miriam’ – even if anyone tries or pretends to be.”

Santiago’s long record of public service includes positions in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

An expert on constitutional and international law, Santiago chaired the Senate committee on constitutional amendments.

She made history by being the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to be elected judge of the International Criminal Court in 2011. But due to her illness, she decided to step down from the post that she was then unable to assume.

Santiago rose to prominence first as a Quezon City regional trial court judge, and later as immigration commissioner and secretary of agrarian reform.

It was for her fight against corruption at the immigration bureau that earned her the Magsaysay Award for government service, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

In this award given in 1998, she was cited for “bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency.”

Known as the “Iron Lady of Asia” for her unflinching moral courage and intellectual brilliance, Santiago was a recipient of countless awards.

Up to now, Santiago’s youth supporters are keeping her flame burning.

“The late senator was known for her feisty but sweet personality. Her adherence to the rule of law is a quality that cannot be taken away from her,” said Raymond Fernandez, youth volunteer during the 2016 presidential elections.

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