ASIDE from a sterling Senate career, the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago will also be remembered for her quotable quotes.
She called her enemies “fungus face” with skins like that of “pachyderms,” and she didn’t mind that she ate “death threats for breakfast.”
As a senator, she earned brickbats for saying “I lied,” after she was asked about her dare t o jump off an airplane, without a parachute, if then President Joseph Estrada was ousted from Malacañang.
“Abolish the Congress. Commit harakiri. We owe it to the Filipino people. Wear our Filipino robes, bow in front of TV and harakiri ourselves… The whole system is just so bad,” was Santiago’s statement at the height of the pork barrel scam involving some of her colleagues in Congress.
In a television interview in 2012, she said she disdained handbags, but not because she wasn’t a fashionista: “Handbags, I don’t at all like them because they occupy my hands. My hands always have to be ready in case I need to slap somebody.”
Even the Supreme Court was not spared when she was bypassed for nomination to the high tribunal in 2006.
Unloading on the high court and the Judicial and Bar Council, she said: “I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated … I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice]if I was to be surrounded by idiots!”
In April 2016, the unstoppable Santiago issued a statement responding to detractors questioning her capability to seek the presidency because of cancer: “I will never quit, I will never stop, I will never withdraw,” she said.
She was also funny as she made light of her medical condition. “I went to see a pulmonologist and then said, ‘I’m sorry but you have cancer,’ and I said, ‘Yes! Because I wanted a challenge in my life,” she said in her best-selling book of quotes “Stupid is Forever.”
Beyond laughs, Santiago also inspired the youth, who made her the darling of college campuses.
In one of her speeches during the 2016 presidential campaign, she said: “If you refuse to work in government because you think it is so corrupt, no one else will be left in government except the corrupt.”