A year since her passing, ‘Miriam Magic’ lives on
For the family and friends of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, the “Miriam magic” lives on, even a year after her passing at age 71.
On Friday morning, an intimate crowd led by the late lawmaker’s husband, lawyer Narciso Santiago Jr., relatives, political allies and supporters gathered at her resting place at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City to give tribute on her first death anniversary.
Public officials paid their respects to the late senator, including the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who was Santiago’s running mate in the 2016 polls, also graced the memorial.
Clad in red, Santiago’s supporters were mostly from the youth sector, from which Santiago was exceedingly popular due to her witty, “hugot” lines used during her presidential campaign.
Rhyan Malandog, chair of the Youth Reform Movement, said the “Miriam magic” was a concept left behind by the veteran lawmaker.
“When you say Miriam magic, only her physical self has passed away,” he told the Inquirer. “But the learnings, the lessons and her leadership remained.”
Malandog shared the thoughts of other youth leaders at the tribute, saying the current political situation would have been different, had the “Iron Lady of Asia” was still alive.
Santiago, who in her decades-long political career served in the three branches of government, passed away in her sleep in September 2016 after battling lung cancer.
Linnea Defensor Evangelista, her younger sister, said she was not surprised at the outpouring of love for her sibling, even in her death.
Sought for comment on the proposed conferring of the Quezon Service Cross on Santiago, she said, “I think she’ll be pleased, but at the same time, she’ll probably laugh at it… She’s very down-to-earth and doesn’t seek great recognition.”
The award is considered the highest recognition given in the country. On Wednesday, Senators Grace Poe and Sonny Angara passed resolutions urging President Duterte to confer the award on Santiago for her service to the nation.
Officiating priest Fr. Virgilio Ojoy expressed in his homily how much Santiago is missed in the Senate, particularly in the many hearings taking place.
“She could have offered deep insight in the so-called extrajudicial killings that currently polarize the country,” he said.
The first year after her passing is a “good time to remember” what she worked for, said Marcos.
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