State Funeral befitting to a remarkable Philippine Leader: Miriam Defensor Santiago

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(Disclaimer: If the family will allow it)

FORMER senator and presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago, one of the most highly respected personalities in Philippine politics, died Thursday morning at age 71.

The former judge succumbed to lung cancer and “died peacefully” at a hospital in the capital of Manila, according to a BBC article quoting her husband. Other reports said she breathed her last while she was sleeping.

The senator from Iloilo, campaigning on an anti-corruption platform, ran for presidency first in 1992 but reportedly lost then, allegedly due to vote-rigging.

According to her biodata on the Philippine Senate website, it was then that this saying was born: “Miriam won in the voting, but lost in the counting.”

A dogged competitor, Santiago ran and lost again in the 1998 polls before trying one last time in the last May polls, even though she was already diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in 2014. Some said her loss was largely due to concerns over her health.

Moments after news of her death hit media headlines, the Internet was awash with condolence messages from grieving Filipinos who dubbed it a great loss to the nation.

Media outlets worldwide penned obituaries that chronicled her political journey, which has led her to serve in all three branches of the Philippine government – the judiciary, the executive and the legislative.

The reports recounted her quick wit and even quicker tongue, her fearlessness in the face of adversities, and her immovable belief in staying the course to weed out systemic corruption.

Throughout her career, Santiago, was hailed as bold and brilliant as a politician, and has been crowned countless times with titles like Dragon Lady, Platinum Lady, the Incorruptible Lady, the Tiger Lady, and most popular of all, the Iron Lady of Asia.

“She is a renowned celebrity. Like a rock star, she attracts crowds everywhere. She is the most sought-after guest speaker of university students. Sen. Santiago is a woman of destiny. She will be remembered in Philippine history as a genuine hero of her people,” her biodata says.

“She has been called the incorruptible lady, the platinum lady, the tiger lady, the dragon lady, the iron lady of Asia, the queen of popularity polls, and the undisputed campus hero..

“But to her millions of fans, she is best known for the unique brand of charismatic leadership that media likes to call ‘Miriam Magic’,” it adds.

Filipino netizens, in mourning her death, said she was the “best president we never had”.

Let us therefore give her the highest final respect befitting her life full of sacrifice and love for us all, if the family permits it also.

(Source: Asian Correspondent)

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