Press Release
September 29, 2016


I join the nation in mourning the passing of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. The Filipino people lost a champion of women rights and defender of the country's sovereignty. I send my prayers and thoughts to her loved ones during this time of grief.

My party, Akbayan, had the chance of working with Senator Santiago on several important issues. In 1999, she and Rep. Etta Rosales filed the Anti-discrimination bill to protect the rights of each and every citizen regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Senator Miriam, a fellow Ilongga, is also one of our staunchest champions of the Reproductive Health Law. With her, reproductive health and women's rights advocates weathered enormous obstacles to the law's passage. With the broader movement for reproductive health, we share the victory of having given ordinary Filipino women the right over our own bodies and the power to determine the welfare of our families.

We also had the privilege of working with her in safeguarding the country's sovereignty and national interests. We thank her for joining us in filing a joint resolution that sought to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

I am saddened that we didn't have the opportunity to work together in the senate. With her passing, I will continue to find inspiration from her tireless advocacies and her work in public office to pursue legislation for the welfare of ordinary citizens and the sovereignty of our nation. This would serve as a fitting tribute to her memory.

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