FAMILY members, friends – in and out – of politics, as well as supporters of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago gathered at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina yesterday to commemorate her first death anniversary.
Santiago was 71 years old when she succumbed to lung cancer on Sept. 29, 2016. A memorial service, organized by the Youth for Miriam, was held for her in the morning. The youth group supported Santiago’s presidential bid in 2016.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Santiago’s running mate, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, attended a Mass for Santiago.
“She paid me the ultimate tribute. I’m flattered that she chose me to be her running-mate in the previous election,” Marcos said in a television interview.
Lawyer Narciso “Jun” Santiago, the senator’s husband, thanked those who remembered his wife. Red balloons were released as a tribute to Santiago, regarded as the Philippines’ “Iron Lady.”
Senators Grace Poe and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara sought to posthumously bestow on Santiago the Quezon Service Cross, the Republic’s highest civilian service award, for her 50 years of “selfless service’ to the nation.
Angara filed on Wednesday Resolution 517 justifying the conferment of the Quezon Service Cross on Santiago who served all three branches of government: judicial (as former Quezon City Regional Trial Court judge), executive (as former Agrarian Reform secretary during the term of the late president Corazon Aquino), and legislative (as senator).
Poe filed Resolution 508 asking the President to nominate the “highly esteemed constitutional and international law expert, author, professor and mother for conferment of the award, posthumously.”
Angara said Santiago “exceeded the qualifications” set for a Quezon Service Cross recipient. He said the late senator was a “class of her own.”
“She deserves the recognition because “rare is the Filipino who had served in the judiciary, the Cabinet and the legislature, and the rarest is the one who served in all with brilliance and distinction,” he said.
“Miriam Defensor Santiago has dedicated her life to public service through her work in all the branches of government: judicial, executive and legislative,” Poe said.
Poe said that throughout Santiago’s 46-year career in public service, she embodied values that she herself demanded of leaders: academic, professional and moral character.
In urging Malacañang to nominate Santiago for conferment of the award which both Houses of Congress must approve, Poe said the late legislator’s “crusade against the culture of corruption, steadfastness on the rule of law and determination to hold public officials to a higher standard reverberate across generations.”