Press Release
October 3, 2016

Senate pays tribute to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

The Senate today adopted a resolution expressing its profound sympathy and sincere condolences on the death of former Senator and legal luminary Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve Senate Resolution No. 179, filed by Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, in consideration of Senate Resolution No. 181 filed by Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri and Senate Resolution No. 182 filed by Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito. Upon the motion by Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, all 24 senators were made as co-authors of the resolution.

The resolution seeks to honor the memory of Santiago, a senator from 1995 to 2001 and 2004 to 2016, former judge of the International Criminal Court, former Secretary of Agrarian Reform, former Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation, former presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, a constitutional and international law expert, and author.

"The passing of a great leader and hardworking public servant who had served the three branches of government, the executive, judiciary and legislative, is a great loss not only to her bereaved family, but to the nation, as well," the resolution said.

Santiago also known as the "Iron Lady of Asia," died in her sleep on September 29, 2016 at the age of 71.

The resolution noted the various achievements of Santiago as member of the Senate, where she was instrumental in the enactment of landmark legislations such as the Reproductive Health Act, the Sin Tax Act; the Climate Change Act, the Renewable Energy Act, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, the Magna Carta Act of Women, the Unified Students Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Law, the Cybercrime Act of 2012, and the Archipelagic Base Lines Act, among others.

It also cited her strong performance as chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations, "where she successfully defended and secured Senate concurrence" for important international treaties including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Charter Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with Spain, Korea and the ASEAN.

"Aside from being a fiery debater and interpellator in the Senate halls, she was hailed for her ability to elicit truth and anomalies on matters under congressional investigations," the resolution added.

The resolution said that even when Santiago was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer in 2014, "her failing health did not prevent her from performing her mandate as a lawmaker as she was still the top performer in terms of the number of bills and resolutions filed during the 16th Congress."

Due to her work in the Senate and other posts in the executive and judiciary branches of government, Santiago received numerous prestigious awards for excellence, some of which are the Outstanding Women in Nation's Service Award for Law (1986), Magsaysay Award for government service (1988), Gold Vision Triangle Award for government service, YMCA (1988), the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, Spain (2007), and the Distinguished Icon of Legal Excellence and Public Service Award (2016).

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