Miriam told young supporters: 'Huwag kayong iiyak'
MANILA, Philippines – A few months before she died, the woman known as the Iron Lady of Asia gave her young supporters this parting message: “Huwag kayong iiyak.” (Do not cry.)
Vince Jerome Agustin, coordinator of the group Youth for Miriam, recounted this in an interview with reporters on Saturday, October 1.
It was the last full day of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s wake in the Cathedral Grottos in Cubao, Quezon City.
Agustin said Santiago said this during an event in June, 3 months before she died on Thursday, September 29. The senator was making an apparent reference to her death.
Agustin recalled, “Sinabi niya lang ay, kayong mga kabataan, kapag dumating ang araw na ‘yon, huwag kayong umiyak, huwag kayong iiyak. Huwag kayong panghihinaan ng loob.”
(She said, “You, young people, when that time comes, do not cry, do not cry. Do not lose heart.”)
“Babaunin namin ‘yon, ang sinabi niya,” he said. (We will always remember what he said.)
Agustin was one of dozens of volunteers helping out in Santiago’s wake.
He said around 50,000 people – including family and friends, as well as complete strangers – have visited Santiago’s wake as of noon Saturday.
High-profile personalities who came on Saturday included Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, and Sherwin Gatchalian, as well as Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista and Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan.
“I think there are very few people like her who have no fears and who will speak their mind. I think we can always learn from her, and we can always benefit from that kind of brilliance and independence,” she said.
Licuanan, a women’s rights advocate, added during interview, “I love strong women! So I’m a fan of Senator Miriam. May she rest in peace.”
Actress Heart Evangelista, who considers Santiago her second mom, and her husband Senator Francis Escudero also viewed Santiago’s remains.
Evangelista, who was crying, declined to speak to reporters.
President Rodrigo Duterte is also expected to arrive Saturday evening. – Rappler.com