67 Glorious Years of Eating Death Threats for Breakfast: A Tribute to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

There are two kinds of geniuses. The characteristic of the one is roaring, but the lightning is meagre and rarely strikes; the other kind is characterized by reflection by which it constrains itself or restrains the roaring. But the lightning is all the more intense; with the speed and sureness of lightning it hits the selected particular points – and is fatal.

—Søren Kierkegaard

I must say that in the present setup of the Philippine Senate today, I’m starting to lose hope for any progress for the Philippines. The present Senate have everything the Senate must not have. Practically the composition of the Senate could be divided into four subgroups: first, the movie stars who are not exactly sure why they are there in the first place; second, the products of nepotism which, if I may point out, unconstitutional and dishonourable, who wishes nothing but for their surnames to retain forever in the Philippine Senate; third, the group of not-so-witty-yet-so-ambitious bunch who are so obvious because they are the biggest political butterflies who practically has integrity and loyalty for sale to anyone who could assure them assistance for the next election (additionally, some people in this group really eye those higher positions in 2016 election); and lastly, the endangered group who are intelligent, brilliant, nationalistic and who really cares for our country.

Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan—buti nga!

I kind of hate myself for missing the opportunity to greet one of the people I admire the most in our country in twitter last Friday. She is the epitome of the fourth group I am talking about. Yes, Happy Birthday to you, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago!

Well, I do not really need to start narrating all her accomplishments from her student days, to her law practice, to her being the Regional Trial Court Judge up to her being our Senator now. Everybody knows just how smart she is. Nobody can ever question that. She is also a person oozing with talents from debating, writing, teaching and she had also been a swimming champion when she was in high school. There is no exact word that could properly define her very feisty and fiery personality. She could easily leave anyone befuddled and stunned. A couple of hyphaluting words here and some shrewd comments here plus some of her condescension easily reduce anyone into a dropped jaw. Also, once she starts talking with intense paroxysm, nothing can stop her.

Of course, I do not always agree with her. Obviously, I am anti-RH Bill and she is one of the biggest advocates of that bill. Nonetheless, more than her unquestionable intelligence and work made in public service, I admire her firm standpoints on several issues. I admire her burning desire to explain things to the public. She would even make profanities in Tagalog during the Chief Justice Corona’s Impeachment trial. Some people would say she is a crazy woman. Some people call her Brenda for Bren-damaged (Brain Damaged). But that is so juvenile for me. It is comparable to how little high school kids bully their genius classmates and call them geeks or nerds because they are too intimidated with their intellect. But I believe that if more people had tried listening and understanding her points, there would be less uninformed and unintelligent Filipinos. Do not misunderstand her as complicating everything. In fact she is doing the opposite. I believe that to her mind, she sometimes even uses the language of the streets in order to simplify a difficult law principle. One of the biggest cancers of the society today is the lack of the knowledge of people of the law and their rights like many people believe that they could actually inherit debts of their parents when they cannot. But she’s trying her best to reach out and correct that ignorance of our people even if it means risking her health for she knows that she could be so passionate that her blood pressure may rise to very high level which could be enough to kill her. It’s just sad that people mock her before they would even try hearing her words.

I wish her the very best. She just turned 67 years old and at that age, a person usually retires and spends the rest of their lives enjoying themselves or spoiling their grandchildren. Nevertheless, it is my selfish desire to wish for her a longer life. I wish for her life would be long and strong enough to make changes in our country and also make us all proud by her being a judge in the International Criminal Court. Damn those ‘crabs’ of hers who even go as far as campaigning ICC to reconsider Senator Miriam to the post as ICC judge because she is “emotionally or psychologically unstable” but I know ICC knows better. I’m certain that this iron lady could accomplish whatever tasks she faces in the future. After all, she is the lady who claims, “I eat death threats for breakfast.

The adventure of life is to learn, the nature of life is to change, the purpose of life is to grow and the triumph of life is to prevail.
—Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Happy Birthday again, Senator Miriam. God bless you all the days of your life.

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