DUBAI: Filipino expatriates in the UAE were shocked and saddened by the passing of former Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Thursday morning, September 29. The senator, known for her feistiness, succumbed to lung cancer.
Santiago is deeply admired by many Filipinos for her sharp wit and uncompromising stand on political and social issues. Her acerbic humor gained for herself millions of followings among the millennials and the youth.
Here are the reactions of the Philippine officials, prominent personalities in the Filipino community and expatriates on the well-loved politician’s passing.
“We are deeply saddened by the news. Her demise is a big loss to the government and the people of our country, but we are sure that the memories she has left behind as a public servant, legal luminary and a great leader will remain among us for many, many years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire nation as we reflect on her life, accomplishments and contribution. We also wish fortitude and strength to her family and loved ones.” — Ambassador Constancio Vingno, Jr.
“Miriam Defensor Santiago was a public servant who lived her words — she inspired many to join public service. She was an excellent academic, teaching us that public servants owe it to the people and the community to be in their most excellent form. In these times where financial gain appears to be the end of it all, the virtues that she embodied live past our physical limitations and is now forever etched in the conglomeration of the eternal spirits of the universe.” — Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes.
“The demise of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is a big loss to our country more so for the people who have known her personally and loved her. Offering to serve her countrymen despite her medical condition really showed how obedient she was to her higher calling of service and love for God. Thank you MDS for being a true woman of God. You will truly be missed.” — Rachel Salinel, freelance broadcast media professional in Dubai.
“The demise of Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago is such a big loss to the Philippine society. Being an avid fan, I have perceived her from the beginning as an ‘iron lady’ and the most ethical and brilliant woman of the Philippine political arena. I am sure that her deeds and immeasurable contribution to the society will leave an indelible mark not just in the country where I belong but also in other nations from which she has been instrumental in realizing social transformation.” – Dr. Rommel Sergio, Associate Professor at the Canadian University Dubai (CUD).
“Senator Santiago’s public service has been so varied and so distinguished—she has served in all three branches of the government with the highest integrity—as to make her fame secure and her absence from us a grievous public loss, especially to the overseas Filipinos whom she considered as modern heroes. She was the best president the Philippines never had.” – Atty. Barney Almazar, Director, Gulf Law
“A great loss for Filipinos as she is a strong and tough leader. She is one of the senators that I really admire as she exposes and discusses issues without inhibitions. A learned person of her craft, I usually follow her speeches as she is like a walking dictionary.” – Franz Angeles, associate financial planner, Dubai
“I am really shocked and saddened by the untimely demise of Senator Miriam. I have been idolizing her. I admire her feistiness and wit. As a politician, she is trustworthy.” – Joy Tante, web developer, Dubai
“The Senate has lost one of its brightest legislators. The Philippines has lost a great, prolific politician.” – Julius Suelo, IT specialist, Dubai
The good senator died in her sleep, according to her husband, Narciso “Jun” Santiago, at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, where she had been taken on and off for complications from her ailment. She was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2014.