Senators, mourners remember Miriam’s wisdom, love for PH
Former and incumbent senators led the hundreds of mourners who paid their last respects to former Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on the last day of her wake Saturday.
Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, who came shortly before noon, said that with Santiago’s passing, the country has lost someone who had made a mark in our country’s storied history.
“[H]aving served with her for a few years, I saw her as someone who willingly gave her time and wisdom to the youth. We miss her and our country will miss her… We lost someone who really made a dent in our history,” Aquino told reporters outside the Cathedral Grottos of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City.
Aquino said that though people often view Santiago as strict and stern, in reality she was one who was “very gracious, very kind and very generous with her words of wisdom.”
READ: Miriam: an original
He noted that Santiago’s long stint in government, serving the judicial, legislative and executive branches, is an example of how someone could serve the country for so long and still have the respect of the people.
“She was never not important. Till the end, she was still very popular. People listen to her. She was always someone that people looked up to,” he said of Santiago, who was once a regional trial court judge, immigration commissioner and agrarian reform secretary before becoming a three-term senator.
Asked of what Santiago would’ve thought of the honor and service given to her, especially by the youth, Aquino said that she might have already said “something that have blown up the internet.”
Sen. Sonny Angara said that he would best remember Santiago for her nationalistic fervor, taking note of her stand during the Senate’s deliberations on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which she was against to.
He noted that the Senate would likely pursue Santiago’s pending bills that are “pro-Filipino, pro-youth,” such as the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom.
Sen. Joel Villanueva said the he hopes that the legacy left by Santiago would be instilled in the hearts and minds of the people. He took note of the premium Santiago gave on education, especially on the techvoc sector.
Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan said that Filipinos could learn a lesson or two from Santiago’s life given that “very few people are like her, who have no fears and speak up her mind.”
“We can always learn from her, benefit from that kind of brilliance and independence,” Licuanan said.
Apart from Aquino, Villanueva and Angara, Sen. Cynthia Villar and former senators Jun Magsaysay and Gringo Honasan have arrived at Santiago’s wake.
The Senate is not holding a necrological service for Santiago, in keeping with her orders to her staff not to conduct such service. She instead insisted on a “simple” ceremony.
Other government officials who paid their respects to Santiago, as of writing, are: Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista, Ambassador Anton Lagdameo Jr. and former executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. Expected later this afternoon at Santiago’s wake are actress Heart Evangelista, who described the late senator as her second mother, and her husband Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero. CDG
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