Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday hailed the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago as an exemplary Filipina whose life, achievements, and ideals should be emulated, as he and two other senators proposed this week that two major roads in Quezon City be renamed in her honor.
Cayetano along with Senators Sonny Angara and Lito Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 1888 on February 15, 2023, renaming the Agham and BIR Roads in Quezon City as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago Avenue in honor of the late lawmaker.
In their explanatory note, the senators said Defensor-Santiago “dedicated her life to serving the public, displaying a remarkable record of achievement in all three branches of government.”
“She showcased exceptional leadership, love for her country, and a commitment to excellence through outstanding contributions as a respected legal luminary,” the note read.
Defensor-Santiago had an illustrious and colorful five-decade career in public service as a three-term senator, as well as stints heading the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Bureau of Immigration.
In 2011, she was elected as judge of the International Criminal Court for a nine-year term, making her the first Filipino and first Southeast Asian from a developing state to hold such a seat.
For her achievements, the senator was conferred numerous awards, including the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, as well as the Quezon Service Cross which is only given to a very select group of Filipino citizens who have added to the prestige of the country or have contributed a lasting benefit to the people through their service.
Defensor-Santiago, often dubbed the Iron Lady of Asia by the press and the public due to her feisty demeanor and vehement opposition to corruption in government, ran unsuccessfully for the presidency thrice, losing her last presidential bid in 2016 to the eventual president, Rodrigo Duterte.
The senator died on September 29, 2016 due to complications from lung cancer.