Press Release
September 27, 2017


Mr. President, it is not only with deep admiration, but also with genuine fondness, that I co-sponsor P.S.R. No. 508 introduced by Sen. Grace Poe, urging the conferment of the Quezon Service Cross to our friend former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Ours is a country where, while many inroads have been made in gender equality, the gender balance in politics and governance still remains skewed in favor of men. In its 100 year history, the Philippine senate has only had 22 women senators. Of this roster - a roster of brave, illustrious, dedicated women that Sens Grace, Loren, Nancy, Leila, Cynthia and myself are honored to be a part - Sen. Miriam stands out with her sharp unrelenting tongue, her commitment to academic excellence, and the razor-sharp wit with which she knocked down her those who dared cross her.

To me, I choose to remember her as an ally in the struggle for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law. She was a champion for a law that was opposed by powerful institutions in the country, and gave no quarter to those who attempted to stand in the way of this milestone legislation. I already knew the importance of the woman's voice in policy as an activist and feminist, but in her I realized that a woman's voice can be strident and loud, but still maternal and nurturing.

One thing is certain: Miriam Defensor Santiago is a woman who made sure her voice was heard. She paved the way for women like me who believed that there was a glass ceiling that needed to be broken, an old boy's club that needed to be penetrated, a country whose future needed to be carved and imagined by both men and women equal and together.

It is a year since Senator Miriam left us. Often I find myself wondering what words she would have to say for this festering misogyny in our political life, and the weaponization of this misogyny against women who dare speak truth to power. But we, the living, carry her memory and her legacy always.

By her death, we are diminished. Through her memory, we are made strong.

News Latest News Feed