MANILA, Philippines — Senator Miriam Santiago passed away today at 8:52 in the morning. Her husband Atty. Narciso ‘Jun’ Santiago said, “She died in her sleep.” She was 71.
Known for her feistiness and sharp mind, Sen. Santiago became the first Filipino to be elected in the United Nations as judge of the International Criminal Court. However, she was forced to waive the privilege due to her battle with lung cancer.
She lost her third attempt at the presidency in May.
Santiago had served three full terms as senator and had filed the highest number of bills. Among the notable bills she authored is the Freedom of Information bill.
During the Senate hearing on said bill, only a few minutes after Santiago passed away, Sen. Grace Poe dedicated the proposed legislation in her memory.
“Senator Santiago said during our deliberations, the presidential privilege should not be abused. So this bill is dedicated to her,” Poe said.
Despite their epic battles in the senate, former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile sends his fondest farewell to a worthy adversary.
“Nabalitaan ko kanina at pinagdadasal ko siya. Nakalimutan ko na yun (feuds). Hindi ako nagtatanim ng masamang kalooban kahit kanino ngayon. Pinagdadasal ko siya. May she rest in peace and with the Lord. inaanak ko yun eh (sa kasal).”
Other colleagues of the late senator have issued their own statements on the passing of a political luminary.
“We deeply mourn the passing of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. She was an iconic public figure and certainly one of the most influential in recent memory. I looked up to Senator Mirriam as a mentor and a friend. Her death is truly a great loss to our nation.” — Sen. Antonio Trillanes
“It is a very sad day for the Philippines. A notable woman who has served all three branches of the government, Senator Miriam Santiago was a great patriot who dedicated her life to serving the country. I am out of words to adequately express our deep gratitude for all the selfless work she has done for the country. My thoughts and prayers are with the Santiago family during this extremely difficult time. Rest in peace, Senator Miriam.” — Sen. Joel Villanueva
“Nakikiramay ako sa pamilya ng dating Senador Miriam Defensor-Santiago sa kanyang pagpanaw kaninang umaga.
Sen. Miriam distinguished herself in her decades-long service to the country and our fellow Filipinos as a trial judge, immigration commissioner, as agrarian reform secretary, and as senator. For her exemplary performance, she has received awards such as The Outstanding Young Men, or TOYM; The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service, or TOWNS; Most Outstanding Alumna in Law from U.P.; and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service for her “bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency.”
I was one of those who would stop and listen to the wise words she would say in the Senate sessions. I knew that Sen. Miriam would be ready with her witty lines and feisty attitude.
Sen. Miriam – a brilliant legal mind, a loving wife and mother, and a public servant – would be missed.” — Sen. Nancy Binay
“I am saddened to know that Sen. Miriam will now be debating with a much greater body than the Philippine Senate.” — Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III
“Today marks one of the saddest days in the history of our country.
It is with an extreme sense of loss and grief that I join the entire country in mourning the passing of my close friend and colleague, former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, whose unique brilliance, wit and charm endeared herself to each and very Filipino from all generations and from all walks of life.
My condolences go out to her husband, Jun and their loved ones as they go through this difficult time.
We were classmates in our undergraduate studies in the University of the Philippines-Iloilo College and the UP College of Law, from 1961 to 1969, except for one year.
She was my editor in the Philippine Collegian and then, she appointed me as her associate editor. We would work on the Philippine Collegian every Wednesday evening. I would pick her up from the dorm at nine o’clock in the evening and work on the paper overnight.
There is no senator, past or present, who can match Senator Santiago’s uncommon brilliance and fiery dedication to her principles and beliefs. She was an intellectual giant and a legal luminary whose wit and words benefited this nation and its people so many times over.
She’s a loss to the country. She will remain an inspiration to all of us. We will miss you, Miriam.” — Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. She was one of the most brilliant and dedicated public servants of our time, having served in all three branches of the government. The Iron Lady of Asia, as she came to be known, was admired for her fearless leadership and unquestionable honesty and integrity. Sen. Miriam was a legal luminary, an expert of constitutional law, and a champion of human rights, who inspired many, including myself, to render true and genuine service to our country.
Sen. Miriam was not only an exemplar of public service and a mentor to me, I also considered her as family. I express my sincerest condolences to her family during this difficult time. The whole nation joins you in remembering her exceptional life. My Palangga, Sen. Miriam DS, we will miss you.” — Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri
(UNTV News & Rescue)