INFOGRAPHIC: 16 things you need to know about Miriam Santiago

As the stirring vibe of the upcoming elections is all over in our search for the country’s 16th president of the republic, The Summit Express will bring you closer to your potential bets this coming election through a series of our special reports.
16 things you need to know about Miriam Santiago

For this time, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago will test the waters again to see if the Filipinos are finally ready to embrace her as their new leader. Will the 'Miriam Magic' finally catapult her to the presidency?

Here are the 16 things you need to know about the pugnacious legal luminary of her era.

16 things you need to know about Miriam Santiago

1. Santiago has the most number of bills and resolutions filed last 2014.

Santiago has been branded as the Senate's top-performing senator. Despite of her cancer, she still managed to top the list being the person who filed the most number of bills and resolutions.

2. Graduated with a near-perfect grade of 1.1. in U.P. Visayas.

Sen. Miriam graduated with flying colors as magna cum laude in 1965.
Bemedaled: With a 1.1 grade, Sen. Miriam graduated with flying colors as magna cum laude in 1965. Photo credit:

It was at the University of the Philippines Visayas where Miriam was able to complete her political science degree in 1965 with 1.1 final grade, a breath away from the perfect 1.0. She graduated as a magna cum laude, a recipient of the Rotary Award for Most Outstanding Graduate. Prior to that she's been the top student on her class way back in elementary and high school!

3. The first Filipino to be elected in the prestigious International Criminal Court of U.N.

As well as being the first Asian from a developing country. With a vote of 79 out of 104, Santiago was elected as an ICC judge on December 2011. Unfortunately, the lady senator has to beg off from taking the post as she found out later on that she has cancer.

4. Broke the tradition by being the 1st female Editor-in-Chief of the Philippine Collegian student paper.

In 50 years. Yes, for the first half of its existence, the famed student paper of the University of the Philippines was dominated with men taking the said post. It was only when Miriam entered the scene that the tradition was disrupted.

5. One of the most powerful women in the world.

Iron Ladies: Santiago with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Iron Ladies: Santiago with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Photo credit:

The Australian Magazine hailed Miriam as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 1997 together with notable world figures such as Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Thatcher and Mother Teresa.

6. Constitution genius but she almost failed the bar exams.

Miriam seems to be a magnet attracting various forms of physical maladies, in 1965, the senator almost flunked in the bar exams after obtaining only 78%, a meager figure from the failing grade standard. Nonetheless she took other avenues to perfect her craft after getting learning opportunities from well-known universities around the world such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge Universities.

7. Fought cancer while preparing for her presidential run.

It was in July of last year when she announced that she has a stage four lung cancer, yet the feisty senator spiced up things at that same time when she started hinting an another presidential run to escape from what she considers as a 'boring' life while recovering from her sickness.

8. Worked in ALL three branches of the government.

She worked as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and as Agrarian Reform Secretary under the Cory Aquino administration. Prior to that she was a Regional Trial Court at Quezon City during the Marcos era, she's the youngest judge to be appointed to Metro Manila. Later on, Miriam will embark on a three term journey in the senate from 1995, 2004 and 2010 respectively.

9. Ran for the presidency but lost…twice.

While many were thought that Santiago was about to become the president of the republic in the 1992 elections, it was her bitter rival former President Fidel Ramos who clinched the majority of the vote. Up to this day Santiago is still claiming that she was cheated by Ramos.

10. Santiago only spent PHP 500,000 during her last senatorial run in 2010.

The popularity and mass appeal of the senator among all social classes always provided her a smooth-sailing election campaigns with spending less while having lots of people to campaign for her. This was evident on her last senatorial run in 2010 wherein she said that she only spent 500,000 pesos to fund her campaign.

11. She's worth PHP 73MILLION as of last year.

Santiago’s net worth of 73 million pesos last year makes her part of the top ten list of the wealthiest senator last year, 2014. If we will compare her net worth with other presidential candidates namely Binay, Duterte, Poe and Roxas, Santiago will take the 3rd spot.

12. A Ramon Magsaysay Awardee.

On 1988, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was acknowledged by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, dubbed as the ‘Nobel Prize of Asia’ and awarded her the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

13. Best Debater/Glamour Girl

Sen. Miriam (center) was once a beauty title holder as ROTC Corps Sponsor.  Photo credit:

There was a time where Santiago was hailed as the Best Debater in UP, but what was more surprising is that she also held a beauty title as ROTC Corps Sponsor, not only once but twice!

14. Miriam originally wanted to become a nun, then as a writer.

At a young age, all she wanted was to become a nun because that seems to be the vogue calling at that time for young girls and that she has been taught by nuns during her childhood until she started to realize that she has to take a higher responsibility of helping her parents to raise her other siblings being the eldest of seven kids. Later on Santiago will dream next of becoming a writer but was discouraged by her father and insisted for her to become a lawyer. Later on, her brilliance in law would take her into greater heights.

15. There were around more than 50MILLION people who voted on her in the stretch of her almost a quarter of political life.

Or roughly half of the current population of the Philippine society. She had three successful senatorial runs (1995, 2004, 2010), two failed attempts at the presidency (1992 and 1995) and the senate (2001).

16. She loves to wear bathing suit during her prime years.

“It is the ideal tropical wear, really, then you can wear high heels." – Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on her bathing suit picture.

Miriam on her bathing suit during younger years
Miriam on her bathing suit during younger years working for the government.Photo credit:

The ever-vivacious senator stated in one of her interviews regarding with her old photo in a bathing suit. Unknown to many, she was a swimming champion while in high school. She also knows to play basketball aside from that!

Do you have something to add on this special feature or thoughts to share? Tell us in the comment section below.


— Michael Santiago, The Summit Express

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