This was how former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada described former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Last Friday night, September 30, Mayor Estrada attended the mass held at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City, where the remains of Miriam is located for public viewing.
Mayor Erap had nothing but kind words for the feisty lady senator, who was once his presidential rival during the 1998 elections.
In a brief interview after the mass, he told the press: “Matapang 'yan ipaglaban ang ating batas. Sinunod lahat ang makakabuti para sa bayan...Yun ang pagkakilala natin sa ating yumaong senadora.
“Pagdating sa batas alam niya lahat...”
Mayor Erap also expressed his admiration of Miriam's accomplishments as a longtime legislator.
“Sa kasaysayan ng Senado, ngayon lang tayo nagkaroon ng senador na babaeng walang kasing-tapang katulad ni Senadora Miriam.
“Talagang siya ay isang fighter...”
At the same time, Mayor Erap said that he also witnessed the lighter side of Miriam.
“Kapag nasa labas siya ng Senado, napakabait niyan at matulungin din sa mahihirap. Yun ang pagkakakilala ko sa kanya.
“Tapos kumare ko pa siya.
“Para sa akin, she's a big loss to the country.
“[She's] a lady senator who's really very firm in her belief.”
At past 8 p.m., Mayor Erap arrived inside the Cathedral Grotto's chapel and immediately extended his condolences to Miriam's husband Jun Santiago.
Then the 79-year-old mayor proceeded to sit beside former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III at the front pew of the chapel.
The mass promptly started at 8:37 p.m. and finished at around 9:17 p.m.