Heart Evangelista remembers 'protector, best friend' Miriam Santiago in touching eulogy

MANILA, Philippines – Family and friends of the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago delivered their eulogies for her on Saturday evening, October 1, the last full day of her wake.

The most emotional eulogy came from actress Heart Evangelista, wife of Senator Francis Escudero, who considers Santiago her second mom.

“You must be happy as you cross over to where your son and loved ones are, waiting for you,” Evangelista said, breaking into tears.

Santiago’s son, Alexander Robert, died in 2003.

Quoting Santiago, ABS-CBN reported that she "never came to terms with her son's death," as she cannot understand why "God is so much love but can still inflict so much pain."

Evangelista continued, “You are my fairy godmother, my protector, my hero, my mother, and my best friend.”

BEST FRIENDS. Heart Evangelista posts this photo on Instagram to remember the late Miriam Defensor Santiago. 'I love you Tita... I can't believe you're gone... My #1 protector. Thank you for being my hero,' she wrote.

Photo from Instagram/iamhearte

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who was Santiago’s student, described the late senator as a “one of a kind Filipino.” She was also “the most productive senator.”

Pimentel called Santiago “the best president we never had.” He said the senator, however, might prefer being called “the best teacher we ever had.”

For one, Pimentel said, “She is the reason why I have a dictionary app in my cellphone…She remained a teacher at heart.” 

Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, said Santiago is “the quintessential Filipino politician,” having served under all 3 branches of Philippine government.

Hontiveros also said Santiago was “a courageous champion of women’s rights.” She remembered Santiago’s push for the Reproductive Health Law, for instance.

Senator Miriam, alam kong ikaw ay nakangiti at proud sa amin,” she said. (Senator Miriam, I know that you are smiling and proud of us.)

Santiago is set to be buried on Sunday, October 2. ABS-CBN said her final resting place is beside her son. – Rappler.com


Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.