Here are the highlights of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s eulogy for Juan Martin Flavier during the former senator and health secretary’s burial Monday. Flavier died of multiple organ failure last October 30. He was 79.
“Juan Martin Flavier was my best friend in the Senate, and possibly the most honest senator I knew. ”
“On the strength of his rock-star status, he won as senator in the 1995 elections. In all, he served two terms. He endeared himself to all committee chairs when they needed another senator to form the quorum of two senators for a public hearing. No matter what the committee or subject was, the genial Sen. Flavier made himself available every single day of the week for a quorum, as if it was his duty.”
“Johnny and I were both neophyte senators in the same year. Hardly had the dust settled from the campaign, when I rose in a privilege speech to denounce pork barrel kickbacks, which in that simpler time consisted of 10 percent of the public funds involved. I heatedly said that right after I was proclaimed senator, a series of contractors asked for appointments.
I was so insulted and outraged that I rushed to the Senate to denounce the system, expecting that my colleagues would leap to their feet and confirm my narrative. But, foolish me, after my speech there was no interpellation and no comment from anybody. Nobody spoke. Except for one man – Sen. Juan Flavier. With an offended expression, he rose to affirm my accusation of corruption in the Senate. If Sen. Flavier did not have the courage and the purity of heart to support my story of corruption, I would have made no impact. Because of Sen. Flavier’s comment, the media picked up the story.”
“When I was sometimes tired or bored or downhearted, I would saunter to Johnny’s desk and engage him in a chat, confident that I was sharing a companionable time with an honest man; a good man; a great man.”