MANILA: Malacañang on Thursday joined the nation in mourning the demise of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, one of the brilliant legal minds in the country.
“We condole with families and friends,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press statement he read in a media briefing.
Santiago, 71, died peacefully in her sleep Wednesday morning at the St. Lukes’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City after more than two years of battling cancer.
The Palace official said Santiago’s death signaled the passing of an era of politicians with wide ranging intelligence and courage to express their true conviction.
“She was a shining light in Philippine political panels for her sharp legal mind, uncompromising stand and acid humor,” Abella said.
“She had a profound influence on millennials and the youth, constantly challenging preconceived notions both political and social,” he added.
In July 2014, Santiago announced that she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
A year later, the feisty lady lawmaker claimed she defeated cancer with the help of what she called ‘wonder’ pills and announced that she might run for president.
Santiago eventually joined again the election for the country’s top position but finished last among five aspirants with only 1,415,876 votes in the race won by President Rodrigo Duterte with 16 million votes.
In 1992 elections, Santiago nearly won, losing by only 870,000 votes to former President Fidel V. Ramos.
She ran again in 1998 but placed 7th out of 10 presidential wannabes. Former President Joseph Estrada won the poll.
“Cheer up, people! Ganiyan lang talaga ang buhay. The night is darkest just before the sun rises,” Santiago said in her Facebook page after her third attempt for president.
Santiago, who was named one of “The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World” by the Australian magazine, served as senator from 1995-2001 (first term), 2004-2010 (second term) and 2010-2016 (third and final term).
Santiago was elected as judge of the prestigious International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2011 but almost three years later, she stepped down from the post she never assumed due to health reasons. PNA