MANILA - Family and friends of late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago commemorated on Friday her first death anniversary, missing the "Iron Lady of Asia" amid a compelling time in the country's history.
Loved ones, former colleagues and supporters of the late senator gathered at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City for a mass and tribute.
Among those present were former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, her running mate in the May 2016 polls, her last electoral bid after spending a lifetime in public service.
During the mass, presiding priest Fr. Virgilio Ojoy, a close friend of Santiago's, said he misses the feisty former senator as he made reference to the campaign against illegal drugs.
"I miss Miriam... I wonder what she would say amid all the extrajudicial killings," he said.
Santiago's sister Linnea Defensor-Evangelista conveyed her appreciation for plans to confer the Quezon Service Cross on the late senator, saying "nobody deserves it more."
The Quezon Service Cross is the highest award the nation accords public servants.
Marcos meanwhile said he misses Santiago "not just in the Senate but talking to her."
Santiago passed away last year in her sleep at the age of 71 after a two-year bout with lung cancer.
Santiago was best known for her legal brilliance and unrelenting stance against corruption. She was the first Filipino appointed to the UN-backed International Criminal Court, which tries government leaders.
She also served in all three branches of government, spending 18 years as a 3-term senator who had filed the most number of bills.
Before the senate, she was presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Immigration Commissioner and Agrarian Reform Secretary.
-- reports from Kristine Sabillo and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News