Miriam Defensor Santiago
Miriam Defensor Santiago

Celebrity Profile

Name: Miriam Defensor Santiago
Occupation: Lawyer
Gender: Female
Birth Day: June 15, 1945
Death Date: Sep 29, 2016 (age 71)
Age: Aged 71
Country: Philippines
Zodiac Sign: Gemini

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Height: in centimeters - N/A
Weight: in kg - N/A
Eye Color: N/A
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Blood Type N/A
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Miriam Defensor Santiago

Miriam Defensor Santiago was born on June 15, 1945 in Philippines (71 years old). Miriam Defensor Santiago is a Lawyer, zodiac sign: Gemini. Find out Miriam Defensor Santiagonet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


She was narrowly defeated in the Philippines' 1992 presidential race.

Does Miriam Defensor Santiago Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Miriam Defensor Santiago died on Sep 29, 2016 (age 71).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

She studied political science at the University of the Philippines, Visayas. She was Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Biography Timeline


Defensor Santiago was born Miriam Palma Defensor in Iloilo City, to Benjamin Defensor, a local judge, and Dimpna Palma, a schoolteacher. She was the eldest of seven children. She graduated valedictorian in grade school, high school, undergraduate school. She graduated high school in Iloilo Provincial High School (now Iloilo National High School) and served as the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of the said high school's student publication "The Ilonggo". In 1965, Defensor Santiago graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Visayas. After graduation, she was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.


Defensor Santiago was in favor of appointing a third-party to conduct under international law "inquiry and fact-finding" to resolve the North Borneo dispute, where the third-party is approved by both the national governments of Malaysia and the Philippines. She cited the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of Disputes as motivator of her legal position. She said that this can end the dispute as it did in the 1981 involvement of mercenaries in an invasion of the Seychelles, the 1987 use of chemical weapons in the Gulf War between Iran and Iraq, and the 1988 destruction of Korean Air Lines Boeing 747. She said that since no transfer of sovereignty was involved in the 1878 Deed, no transfer of sovereignty has ever passed to Malaysia. She added that the Philippines has never abandoned its claim over eastern Sabah.


After martial law, in 1988, President Corazon Aquino appointed Defensor Santiago as commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. At that time, the BID was one of the most corrupt government agencies in Southeast Asia. Defensor Santiago declared the Philippines as "the fake passport capital of the world", and directed raids against criminal syndicates, including the Yakuza. She filled the CID detention center with alien criminals, and ordered construction of another detention center. She extended to legal aliens protection from widespread extortion by requesting President Aquino to issue an executive order that authorized the "alien legalization program".


Defensor Santiago organized the People's Reform Party (PRP) and ran with a senatorial ticket during the 1992 presidential campaign. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. was her running mate. While campaigning on 28 April 1991, she was severely injured in car crash, which she claimed was an assassination attempt. She was wearing a white bush jacket which became splattered with blood that gushed from a wound to her head. On orders of President Aquino, she was airlifted from Tarlac to a Manila hospital. She underwent surgery on the jaw, and at one point a Catholic priest administered the last rites of the dying. Two months later, she was back on the campaign trail.


She received serious death threats, but proclaimed: "I eat death threats for breakfast". A member of the House of Representatives, Laguna Rep. Nereo Joaquin, delivered a privilege speech in 1992 and denounced her raids against pedophile communities in Central Luzon run by alien pedophiles. Defensor Santiago responded by calling him "fungus face".


Defensor Santiago was first elected senator in 1995. In 1997, her presidential rival Fidel Ramos initiated a "people's campaign" for an infinite presidential term. Defensor Santiago harshly criticized Ramos' campaign and went to court. In a landmark case, Defensor Santiago vs COMELEC, she won and preserved the people's mandate for term limits. She again ran for president in the 1998 presidential elections, with running-mate Francisco Tatad, but lost amidst heavy propaganda concerning her mental health, which was later proven false.


She was one of the few senators who were against the opening of the brown envelope during the impeachment trial of then-President Joseph Estrada, who was her foe in the 1998 presidential elections. She said afterwards:


Estrada was ousted in the Second EDSA Revolution in 2001, but was pardoned on October 26, 2007 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Defensor Santiago lost re-election to the Senate in 2001.


She was married to Narciso "Jun" Santiago Jr., with whom she had two sons, Narciso III (Archie) and Alexander (A.R.); Alexander committed suicide in 2003. The couple adopted four children; Megan Santiago, Mallory Santiago, Mackenzie Santiago, and Morven Santiago. She and her husband renewed their wedding vows on their 40th wedding anniversary in 2011. She has close relationships with actress and visual artist, Heart Evangelista, who she has mentored.

Defensor Santiago was featured in an episode of ABS-CBN's drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya in 2003 where Tessie Tomas, Julia Clarete, Maja Salvador, and Miles Ocampo played the role of Defensor Santiago in different ages. In 2016, GMA Network's television drama anthology Wagas featured the story of Defensor Santiago and her husband Narciso, where she was played by Heart Evangelista.


Defensor Santiago ran for senator in 2004 and was elected. She focused on creating significant laws that changed the country as a whole. She ran again for senator in 2010 and won. During her three terms, she served as chair mostly of the foreign relations committee and the constitutional amendments committee. She was elected as official candidate of her party People's Reform Party, serving also as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Commission on Appointments. She exposed and named numerous jueteng (illegal gambling) lords and illegal-logging lords throughout her terms.


In 2011, Defensor Santiago was elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which hears cases against humanity for former heads of state. She was the first Asian from a third-world country to be elected to such a post. She resigned in 2014 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. She was one of the senators who backed Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial; he was ultimately impeached due to corruption.

Santiago, the then chairwoman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said she was in favor of shifting to a parliamentary form of government in 2011.


In December 2012, she exposed that the Senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile, used Senate funds to give away as cash gifts. Every senator, except Defensor Santiago and two others, received ₱2 million as a chunk of the Filipino population lived in poverty. This led to the Priority Development Assistance Fund scandal, which put the Senate president behind bars with charges of plunder. Defensor Santiago's live Senate hearings in the case led to public outrage and support for Defensor Santiago's call to abolish the pork barrel system.


Defensor Santiago wrote at least 30 books, many of which are about law and social sciences. Among her works is the Code Annotated Series Project 2000, a series of books about laws passed by the Philippine Congress and Supreme Court decisions. The Code Annotated Series is the main part of Defensor Santiago's Legal Outreach Program. During her initial battle with cancer, she continued to work on the 2014 edition of all her law books. These were published as the 2015 edition of her Code Annotated Series, by Rex Bookstore.

She published a joke book in 2014, Stupid is Forever, a collection of jokes, comebacks, one-liners, and pick-up lines she used in speeches. A sequel, titled Stupid is Forevermore, was published a year later. Both books were published by ABS-CBN Publishing. The first book was named the best-selling book of 2014, selling about 110,000 copies in one month.


In October 2015, Defensor Santiago announced her intention to run in the 2016 Philippine presidential election after her cancer was deemed 'stable' and 'receded' by doctors from the United States. She later confirmed that Senator Bongbong Marcos would serve as her running mate for vice president. Her campaign focused on the youth sector for which she heavily advocated, making use of social media. She was a landslide winner in numerous polls conducted in various public and private universities and colleges in the country. Despite this, she lost in the elections. Defensor Santiago was subsequently called "the greatest president we never had", a title which had been associated with her prior to her presidential run. The Youth for Miriam, a youth group that supported her on the campaign, rebranded as Youth Reform Movement and founded a standalone organization that bears her writings and literature as philosophical pillars.


She was the first Filipino elected as a commissioner for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in 2016. Her role in the organization was advisory to the international law community.

She was branded a "Distinguished Icon of Legal Excellence and Public Service" by the University of the Philippines in September 2016, and posthumously the "PUP Online Personality of the Year Award" by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in November 2016.

At the age of 71, Defensor Santiago died in her sleep at exactly 8:52 a.m. on 29 September 2016 while she was confined at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig from lung cancer; several reports cited that Defensor Santiago died in her residence in La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City. Santiago's last words according to her husband were, "I accept this. I do not want to do anything heroic." While her last wish was to remain only in the memory of her own family. Her body lay in state at the Cathedral Grottos of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao the following day. Following a Catholic funeral Mass, she was interred at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina on 2 October, beside the tomb of her son Alexander, who died in 2003. Santiago's hometown, Iloilo City, declared a day of mourning for Defensor Santiago and flew the Philippine flag half-mast from 29 September – 17 October 2016. The local government said in an official statement that Defensor Santiago 'brought pride and honor to all Ilonggos'.

She stressed during a live debate that the West Philippine Sea is a sovereign territory of the Philippines and that the country should have a better military and police force and assets and should prioritize enhancing ties with allied nations, especially in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). She was one of the international law experts who criticized China and aided in the Philippine case against China. The case was won by the Philippines in 2016. Despite this, China still does not recognize the ruling.

Defensor Santiago publicly advocated for the passage of a divorce law in the Philippines, saying, "Why would you force [couples] to be together if they want to kill each other by mere sight?" With respect to her position on divorce, she clarified that it should be restricted on two grounds: "an attempt on the life of the spouse by the other" and "when one spouse is already living with another person, that is adultery or concubinage." In the 2016 Presidential campaign, despite being unable to attend the second debate citing health concerns, she reiterated on Twitter her position on divorce, leaving her as the only presidential candidate to favor its legislation.

Defensor Santiago took a critical perspective of abortion and supports maintaining laws against it: "No to abortion, never. I am a very avid supporter of RH [Reproductive Health] Law, but I will definitely fight to the death against abortion as a lawyer, not necessarily as a religious person. I equate it properly with the crime of murder." On contraception, she stressed the importance of its distribution, especially in poverty-stricken areas. She was a strong proponent of the Philippines' Reproductive Health Law, which guarantees universal access to methods on contraception, maternal health and sex education. According to her, the bill was shelved for more than 13 years, citing the Catholic Church's opposition. Defensor Santiago expressed dismay when the RH Law had suffered a one-billion peso budget cut before the Congress in early 2016. She said if she will be elected, she will work for a full and conscientious implementation of the law.


In June 2017, members of the Youth Reform Movement lobbied for the posthumous awarding of the Quezon Service Cross to Defensor Santiago. In September 2017, Senator Grace Poe, her freedom of information (FOI) ally and 2016 presidential rival, nominated Defensor Santiago to be awarded the Quezon Service Cross, the highest honor in the entire Republic, subject for approval of both houses of Congress and by President Rodrigo Duterte, who was also her presidential rival. On the same month, Senator Sonny Angara, who considers Defensor Santiago as his mentor, followed suit by filing another resolution nominating Defensor Santiago to become a laureate of the prestigious Quezon Service Cross, just days before Defensor Santiago's first death anniversary on 29 September. The Senate expressed its full intent to confer Defensor Santiago the award. The president, through the Presidential Palace, welcomed the proposal to bestow the award to Defensor Santiago once both houses of Congress have ratified the document conferring such award. The House of Representatives is the only body left that has yet to express its intent to bestow the award to Defensor Santiago. Most members of the House are against Defensor Santiago's anti-political dynasty bill which she introduced in Congress. Santiago's bill is backed by the Constitution itself, where it mandates both chambers of Congress to enact such a law. On 5 December 2017, the president officially nominated Defensor Santiago for the award, awaiting concurrence of both chambers of Congress to officially bestow the award. Defensor Santiago is the sixth person, the first Visayan, and the first and only woman to be nominated for the award. She is the sixth person to be immortalized in the 69-year old national roster. In 11 December 2017, the Senate approved the bestowing of the award to Defensor Santiago. In 20 February 2018, the House of Representatives approved the bestowing of the award to Defensor Santiago. In December 3, 2018, the prestigious Quezon Service Cross was officially posthumously conferred upon Santiago, making her the sixth recipient and first and only woman to be included in the country's highest accolade and roster.

Family Life

Miriam married Narciso Santiago in 1970.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Miriam Defensor Santiago is 77 years, 1 months and 24 days old. Miriam Defensor Santiago will celebrate 78th birthday on a Thursday 15th of June 2023. Below we countdown to Miriam Defensor Santiago upcoming birthday.


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