"‘Pag nagluto ka naman, dagdagan mo ng itlog ‘yang cake mo.”
[When you cook, add more eggs to your cake.]
Former Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Benjamin Defensor recalled this brotherly advice he once gave his sister, the late former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, whose hobby was cooking.
Defensor said in an interview with ANC's Headstart a day after his sister passed away, it was often his older sister who would give him advice, especially when it comes to politics.
"She was the one that’s guiding me because her profession is law and I always say that if the PMA, the Philippine Military Academy, accepted females in her time, she would have been the military man, I would have been the lawyer," he said.
Despite her strong public persona, Defensor said Miriam was close to her family, and was very affectionate.
"She’s more affectionate to me than her husband, so her husband becomes jealous sometimes—but she’s really affectionate to her siblings. I don’t know if it’s an Ilonggo trait or a Filipino trait, but she’s really close to the family," he said.
Because she loved her family so much, the death of her son, Alexander, "hurt her" deeply, said Defensor.
He said Miriam was "kind of [a] fatalist in some respects," and she accepted the death her son as God's will. Alexander committed suicide supposedly due to a failing grade in Constitutional Law at the Ateneo de Manila University.
"I think that’s the best way to treat an incidence like this, tragedies like this—that it’s God’s will and you cannot do much, because the more that you blame somebody or you blame yourself, it will only hurt some more,” he said.
He recalled, Miriam shared very little to him during those dark days, but she was comforted by her "lady friends."
In an interview three years ago, Defensor-Santiago revealed that she never came to terms with her son's death, and that she couldn't understand why "God is so much love but can still inflict so much pain."
She added that when she dies, she would raise her finger to God and say that "this is not the way to do it," referring to her son's sudden death.