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Remembering Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago @SenMiriam

"What is important is that you and I continue to believe in the future of our country." – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

She graduated Bachelor of Laws, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines College of Law

Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the feisty, esteemed former senator of the Philippines and public servant from Iloilo, died early Thursday, after battling lung cancer for two years. She was 71 years old.

“Senator Santiago left a sterling career in public office. She is best remembered as a graftbuster “eating death threats for breakfast”, earning her the title of “Iron Lady of Asia”. A constitutionalist, she had always been an advocate for the rule of law.” - President Rodrigo Duterte

“May her life serve as inspiration and example to women, the youth and to all our fellow Filipinos.” - Vice President Leni Robredo

“There is no senator, past or present, who can match Senator Santiago’s uncommon brilliance and fiery dedication to her principles and beliefs. She was an intellectual giant and a legal luminary whose wit and words benefited this nation and its people so many times over.” - Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon

“She has personified the strength of women: to be a wife and mother, a success in her career, and a powerful social force for nation-building. In the midst of the political crisis that we have been experiencing as of late, her death is a sobering reminder that while our time on earth is fleeting, our service to our countrymen is eternal.” - Senator Leila De Lima

“She was the best president our nation never had.” - Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Bio at Wikipedia:

Miriam Palma Defensor Santiago (15 June 1945 – 29 September 2016) was a Filipino politician, who served in all three branches of the Philippine government – judicial, executive, and legislative. Some of her alma maters include University of the Philippines, University of Michigan, Oxford University, Maryhill School of Theology, University of California, Harvard University, and Cambridge University. Santiago was named one of The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 1997 by The Australian magazine.

In 1988, Santiago was named laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, with a citation "for bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency." She ran in the 1992 presidential elections but was defeated in an election marred by allegations of impropriety by the victor. The quote, 'Miriam won in the elections, but lost in the counting.' became popular nationwide.

Santiago became senator of the republic in 1995 and authored the most number of laws and bills in the entire history of the Philippines. She ran again for president in the 1998 presidential elections but lost after heavy black propaganda against her which were eventually proven false. She continued her work as senator - exposed and lambasted numerous government scandals, such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, which led to massive outrage and triggered major reforms throughout the country. She became an icon of incorruptibility, honest government service, and constitutional law. She was given numerous awards and recognition for her fight against corruption in the country.

In 2012, Santiago became the first Filipina and the first Asian from a developing country to be elected a judge of the International Criminal Court. She later resigned the post, citing chronic fatigue syndrome, which turned out to be lung cancer. In 2016, she became part of the International Advisory Council of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), an intergovernmental body that promotes the rule of law.

Santiago served three terms in the Philippine Senate. On 13 October 2015, Santiago declared her candidacy for President of the Philippines in the 2016 elections after her doctors from the United States declared her cancer 'stable' and 'receded', but lost in the elections. She was immortalized by her supporters as 'the best president we never had'.

Santiago was known as the Dragon Lady, the Platinum Lady, the Incorruptible Lady, the Tiger Lady, and most popularly, the Iron Lady of Asia.

"I eat death threats for breakfast." - Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Miriam Defensor Santiago, full speech, at the University of Perpetual Help, Laguna

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