FOR her supporters in Cebu, the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago was a symbol of good governance and of a life for others.
Hours after she was laid to rest at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City yesterday, Santiago’s supporters in Cebu, led by members of the Youth for Miriam Movement, offered a mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
After the mass, members of the YMM released red and white balloons with tarpaulins of the late senator.
Lance Cordova, one of the coordinators of YMM and part of Santiago’s campaign staff in Cebu, told Sun.Star Cebu that the last time he saw the late senator was during the second PiliPinas debates held in UP Cebu.
Cordova said that Santiago was “all smiles” before the crowd even though she was nursing a backache at the time.
“We were instructed not to let people approach her (Santiago) due to her health, but she instead went to the crowd and met with them. Bisag nagsakit ang iyang luyo ato, game gihapon kaayo siya (She was in pain but she accommodated the crowd),” Cordova said.
When he heard the news that Santiago died, Cordova said he felt devastated.
He said he and fellow supporters of the late senator wanted to visit her when she was hospitalized, but they never got the chance.
Cordova said that what he remembered of his last meeting with Santiago was when the she told him and other young supporters not to be like her.
“Don’t strive to be like me, be better than me,” Cordova recalled Santiago telling them.
Patrocinio Marivelles, 50, who attended the mass dedicated to Santiago yesterday, said that with Santiago’s death, the country “lost a good politician.”
“We lost the president that we never had,” Marivelles said.
Santiago lose her battle to lung cancer last week. She was 71.
She was was buried yesterday beside her son, Alexander.
Her memorial service was not only attended by friends and family, but also by thousands of people who supported her in the last presidential election.