The nation marked the first death anniversary of former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Friday.
The supporters of the late senator, her widower Atty. Narcisco “Jun” Santiago, and her siblings Nenalyn Evangelista and Dr. Linn Defensor came to Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City early today.
Exactly a year ago today, the senator succumbed to cancer at the age of 71. It was in 2014 when Santiago announced to public that she had stage-4 lung cancer.
Born in Iloilo City on June 15, 1945, the former senator was dubbed as the “Iron Lady of Asia” for her iron-fist approach to corruption and graft when she served in the three branches of government—judicial, executive, and legislative. The Iron Lady served as a presiding judge of the Quezon City regional trial court, commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, and was senator for 18 years.
Santiago sought presidency in the May 2016 elections but lost to Rodrigo Duterte. She also ran for president in the 1992 and 1998 elections, which were won by Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, respectively.
The Senate is asking to honor their late colleague with the Quezon Service Cross for her selfless service to the country. The award is the country’s highest recognition that the republic can vest on its outstanding civil servants.
Since it was created in 1946 in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon, it has been awarded to only five Filipinos: Carlos P. Romulo, Emilio Aguinaldo, Ramon Magsaysay, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., and Jesse M. Robredo.
Malacañang on Thursday has welcomed the resolution filed separately by Senators Grace Poe and Sonny Angara seeking to confer on Santiago the nation’s highest recognition.
In a press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Santiago’s contribution to the nation is “beyond question.”
“The Office of the President welcomes moves to confer the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago the Quezon Service Cross. The late senator’s contribution to the country is beyond question. The President highly respects the lady,” he said.
“We look forward to receiving the resolution of the Senate,” Abella added.
Angara said Santiago deserves the Quezon Service Cross because “rare is the Filipino who had served in the judiciary, the Cabinet and the legislature, and rarest is the one who served in all brilliance and distinction.” Angara added that the late senator is a “class of her own.”
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, along with Santiago’s running mate in the May 2016 elections Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, were among attendees of the celebration of Iron Lady’s death anniversary.
A mass was held for the late senator, followed by different programs such as a night concert dubbed, “Concert for Miriam,” which was attended by various performers at the memorial park.
Santiago’s youth volunteers and supporters have turned again to social media, asking for netizens to participate in the commemoration of the late senator.
“Everyone is encouraged to tie a red ribbon anywhere and wear red (shirt, scarf, shoes, handkerchief, etc.) that day as commemoration of the Iron Lady’s greatness,” read their poster on Facebook with the hashtag “#MiriamIsForever that trended on the internet.
— Prima Facie ✌ (@philipdpherrera) September 28, 2017
She never used evil to fight evil. #MiriamIsForever
(C) digital art by yours truly pic.twitter.com/V4CCniFRyn
— Ian Soliman (@ItsIanLSoliman) September 29, 2017
— Edmund Jr (@youngmunsterr) September 29, 2017
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) September 29, 2017
A selfless leader like her is rare to find. #MiriamIsForever
— Jey’s□ﾟ (@annabananaJANA) September 29, 2017
— Juhhann Kim (@JuhhannKim) September 29, 2017
Today, we celebrate the life of Sen. Miriam. 💕 #MiriamIsForever
— Nicole 👑 (@nikkoydokuy) September 29, 2017