AS TOUGH as she was on the outside, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is a very loving and sincere person.
This was how Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III described Santiago, who succumbed to cancer Thursday morning at the age of 71.
Pimentel said it is a known fact to everyone that Senator Santiago was always the favorite of young people, which he attributed to her unquestionable wit and sense of humor.
“I once incorporated one-liners into my speeches, taking my cues from Senator Santiago. Her popularity among the youth is tremendous. She was very insightful and knowledgeable.” Pimentel said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, who is a fellow Ilonggo and also a classmate of Santiago at University of the Philippines (UP) for eight years (1961-1969), described his former classmate as a brilliant lawyer and a darling to the Filipino youth.
Drilon said Santiago was her Philippine Collegian editor while she appointed him as an associate editor during their UP days.
Born in Iloilo City on June 15, 1945, Santiago ran for Presidency thrice but lost.
Drilon said there is no Senator, past or present, that can match Santiago’s "brilliance, fiery dedication and her dedication as a public servant."
Santiago served three branches of government from the Judicial where she served as a Judge at the Quezon City , Regional Trial Court; the Executive when she was chosen by then President Cory Aquino as Immigration Chief; and Legislative department, when she won as Senator in 1995.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV described the Senator as one of the best public servants the country has ever had.
Trillanes called Santiago the "Iron Lady" whose wit and humor and great contribution to Philippine politics will never be forgotten.
Senator Grace Poe in the middle of the ongoing hearing on the Freedom of Information bill asked everyone to take a pause to offer a prayer for the soul of Santiago after hearing about her sudden death.
Poe said the country is mourning for Santiago whose credibility and principle created a big influence among the Filipino youth.
Senator Richard Gordon described Santiago as an intellectual giant and a woman of caliber and "certainly a woman who was assertive."
Gordon said no one can question Santiago as a public servant, whose record cannot be easily matched by anyone.
Senator Leila de Lima was saddened by the death of the Santiago as she described her as a respected institution not only in the country but in the international community.
“She is known across all spectrums of society for her courage, legal expertise and sterling career in public service,” de Lima said.
Santiago, according to Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, is a courageous public servant and an inspiring person. Her quotable quotes, he said, gave a lot of inspiration of laughter to many Filipinos.
Among the famous lines of Santiago include: “I eat death threats for breakfast.”
Santiago’s death was confirmed by her husband Narciso Jun Santiago.
“She died peacefully in her sleep this morning,” Santiago said.
The former Senator died while confined at the St. Luke Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City at 8:52 Thursday morning. (Sunnex)