MANILA (Mabuhay) – Being a newbie in politics, Senator Grace Poe recalled how she had “sleepless nights” to face feisty constitutionalist, former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Poe was the one who defended the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) as chair of the Senate committee on public information and mass media during the 16th Congress. And Santiago was among those who interpellated her on the floor.
“I was already defending the FOI bill, it was the first bill that I defended on the floor and I was quite scared to be interpellated then by Senator Santiago,” she recalled during the hearing of the committee, which she still chairs this 17th Congress.
“I remember having sleepless nights preparing for that particular time when she would actually interpellate me,” said Poe.
Before interperelatting her, Poe recalled Santiago telling her that: “Senator Poe, I feel very maternal towards you.”
“So instead of actually interpellating me, she lectured me on the importance of having a Freedom of Information bill and I will never forget her for that,” she said.
“She stressed that the presidential communications privilege should not be abused by any sitting president and I think that’s a valid point that we really took into consideration and so this bill is also dedicated to her and hopefully we pass it also in her memory,” the senator added.
Santiago’s husband, Jun Santiago, confirmed that she passed away in her sleep Thursday morning. She was 71.
Poe confirmed Santiago’s passing during the hearing when she paused and asked everyone to offer a moment of silence and pray for the late senator’s soul.
She described Santiago as a “respected,” “courageous” woman, who helped the chamber passed the FOI bill in the past 16th Congress.
Both Poe and Santiago ran for president in the May 2016 elections, but lost to President Rodrigo Duterte. (MNS)