MANILA – In an overwhelming show of love, thousands of mourners paid their final tributes to the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Sunday.
During the last stretch of her wake at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Quezon City, supporters and loved ones left a deluge of messages in remembrance of Santiago’s legal brilliance and character.
At a 1 p.m. funeral mass, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus TeodoroBacani lauded Santiago as a public servant who never resorted to evil means to champion the good. He also dubbed her as the “princess for the Filipinos.”
Hundreds of people also took to the streets amid the sweltering heat to cheer and catch sight of Santiago’s hearse on its way to the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, where she was also greeted with thundering applause from supporters.
Father ArisSison officiated the final blessing rites of the veteran lawmaker, which was attended by former vice president JejomarBinay, former first lady and now Ilocos Norte representative Imelda-Marcos, nephew and former Quezon City representative Mike Defensor, presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, and scores of political powerbrokers.
Also grieving with Santiago’s family were a sea of her youth supporters mostly clad in red, her campaign color during the May 9 elections where she lost to President Rodrigo Duterte.
With Santiago buried beside her son, Alexander, the rites ended with a 21-gun salute from the national police. Chanting “Miriam,” her supporters also released doves and white balloons into the sky.
Known as the “Iron Lady of Asia” for her legal brilliance and unrelenting stance against corruption, Santiago was the first Filipino appointed to the UN-backed International Criminal Court, which tries government leaders.
She also served in all three branches of government, spending 18 years in Congress as a three-term senator who had filed the most number of bills.
Santiago was also a laureate of the Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
She died in her sleep on Thursday after a two-year bout with lung cancer. She was 71. (ABS-CBN News)