Dragon Lady Miriam on Thatcher: I idolize her
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ Dragon Lady loved Britain’s Iron Lady.
Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago, who earned the monikers "dragon lady” and "the iron lady of Asia" in magazine covers, paid tribute to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Santiago said she is “very sad” with the death of her idol.
In an interview on Tuesday, April 9, Santiago recalled the time she met Britain’s Iron Lady who was in the Philippines for a visit in the 1990s.
“I met her right after I allegedly lost in the  presidential elections. She was touring Asia. She showed me extraordinary sympathy and compassion. She had read up on me, which was amazing because she is a global leader, and she commended me for my book called Cutting Edge.”
“She said that she never reads the newspapers when she was PM because they ruined her day,” Santiago quipped.
Santiago ran for president in 1992 against Fidel Ramos but lost. She has since claimed she was cheated and despised Ramos as “representing the problem of evil on planet earth.”
Santiago said she looked up to Thatcher, a fellow female politician with a strong personality.
“I idolize her, actually. She is very unique and very brilliant. She started by taking chemistry in Oxford, and then she switched to law, which is very astounding. The kind of mental discipline that is needed to calibrate your brain from the sciences to the more social aspects of society, including social engineering, was amazing.”
Santiago said she had many similarities with Britain’s first female premier.
“She was very results-oriented like me. I remember she came down the stairs, she greeted me and looked at my book, and then said, ‘Well, let’s have a picture!’ Everyone was standing around hoping to get a word with her and she knew people love to have pictures with her so we immediately all fell in line.”
An amused Santiago wrapped up her anecdote.
“And then there was a certain general who was taking his time, maybe out of shyness. So she said rather sternly to him, ‘Oh come on, general! Shake a leg!’”
“I love her for that memory,” Santiago said.
Thatcher died at the age of 87 on Monday, April 8, following a stroke. She was Conservative prime minister of Britain from 1979 to 1990 and won 3 successive general elections.
World leaders paid her tribute. British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed her as a “great Briton” while US President Barack Obama called her “a great champion of freedom and liberty.”
Thatcher though is described as a divisive politician, with critics also pointing to her mixed legacy. They questioned the economic and social impact of her policies.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III called Thatcher a “formidable leader on the world stage.” – Rappler.com