Santiago offers eulogy for ‘best friend’ Flavier
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Monday offered her eulogy to her “best friend” in the Senate, the late Senator Juan Flavier, whom she remembered as the only one who stood by her in condemning “pork barrel” kickbacks during their first term as senators in 1995.
“Juan Martin Flavier was my best friend in the Senate, and possibly the most honest senator I knew,” Santiago said.
She then recalled the time when Flavier backed up her claim when she exposed an alleged offer by certain contractors to give her 10 percent kickbacks in exchange of her pork barrel funds.
“I was so insulted and outraged that I rushed to the Senate to denounce the system, expecting that my colleagues would leap to their feet and confirm my narrative. But, foolish me, after my speech there was no interpellation and no comment from anybody. Nobody spoke. Except for one man – Senator Juan Flavier. With an offended expression, he rose to affirm my accusation of corruption in the Senate,” said Santiago.
“If Sen. Flavier did not have the courage and the purity of heart to support my story of corruption, I would have made no impact. Because of Sen. Flavier’s comment, the media picked up the story,” she added.
She said she always enjoyed the company of the late senator.
“When I was sometimes tired or bored or downhearted, I would saunter to Johnny’s desk and engage him in a chat, confident that I was sharing a companionable time with an honest man; a good man; a great man,” she said.
Flavier always made himself available to committees which require a quorum of two senators in order to conduct public hearings, according to Santiago.
The late senator succumbed to multiple organ failures as a result of pneumonia last October 30 at the age of 79.
He was remembered for his campaigns on various causes ranging from HIV/AIDS to family planning during his stint as health secretary from 1992 to 1995. Flavier later served two terms in the Senate from 1995 to 2007.
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