Goodbye Sen. Miriam: Santiago laid to rest

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  • Friends and colleagues honor former Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago as she is set to be buried Sunday afternoon.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has been laid to rest by her loved ones, friends and supporters Sunday afternoon at the Loyola Memorial in Marikina.

 

The Philippine flag which was placed on the Senator's coffin was turned over to her husband, Narciso Santiago Jr.

Seventy-one balloons and doves were released as people who loved her bid farewell to Santiago.

The late senator was buried beside her son Alexander, who died in 2003.

The tomb area is filled with wreaths of white flowers from people grieving Santiago's death.

 

Funeral mass

A funeral mass was held for the senator Sunday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. The church was packed with people as family, friends, and supporters of Santiago bid an emotional farewell to the late senator.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco celebrated the mass with Bishop Teodoro Bacani, who delivered a fitting homily.

Meanwhile, Fr. Aris Sison officiated the funeral blessing at Loyola Memorial park.

'Duriam'

President Rodrigo Duterte flew from Davao early Sunday to pay his final respect to Santiago, whom the President considers as a friend.

During the May 2016 elections, the then presidential candidates had nothing but good words for each other, which the public noticed, and gave birth to the coinage, "Duriam."

Duterte spent an hour and a half at the wake to pay his last respects to Santiago.

 

In a statement released following the death of Santiago on Thursday, the President expressed his deepest sorrow in the passing of the former legislator.

"Senator Santiago has left a sterling career in public office. She is best remembered as a graft buster 'eating death threats for breakfast,' earning her the Iron Lady of Asia. A constitutionalist, she has always been an advocate for the rule of law," Duterte said.

'Second mom'

Friends and colleagues honored Santiago on the last night of her wake Saturday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

Senate President Koko Pimentel said he will remember Santiago as a teacher, as he was a student of Santiago at the Univerisity of the Philippines (UP) College of Law.

"Look at where her students are now. We all did well because of Ma'am Miriam," Pimentel said. "I owe Sen. Miriam a debt of gratitude. It was also a great honor for me to receive the endorsement of my teacher."

Sen. Risa Hontiveros described Santiago as a "courageous champion of  women's rights." Hontiveros and Santiago pushed for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law.

 

Actress Heart Evangelista also turned emotional as she paid tribute to the woman she considers her "second mom."

"You were that bright light. You were my north star. Your memory will always light my path. You have touched me so deeply and yet changed me permanently," Evangelista said.

CNN Philippines Correspondents Anjo Alimario, AC Nicholls, and Isabella Montano contributed to this report.