FORMER presidential candidate and ex-Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago passes away Thursday night in a hospital in Taguig City after battling lung cancer. She was 71.
The feisty former lawmaker died at 8:52 a.m. (Philippine time) in her sleep. She was diagnosed to be suffering from Stage four lung cancer in 2014. Despite her illness she ran for the third time for president and lost anew in the last election. She was a former Quezon City Regional Trial Court judge, immigration commissioner and agrarian reform secretary.
Sen. Santiago was described by Malacanang as “a shining light in Philippine political annals with her sharp legal mind, uncompromising stand and acid humor.”
Former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the former senator is “without equal” while Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the Filipino people “lost a champion of women rights and defender of the country’s sovereignty.”
She also noted that the late senator, a fellow Ilongga, “is also one of our staunchest champions of the Reproductive Health Law. With her, reproductive health and women’s rights advocates weathered enormous obstacles to the law’s passage. With the broader movement for reproductive health, we share the victory of having given ordinary Filipino women the right over our own bodies and the power to determine the welfare of our families.”
Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Santiago’s vice presidential candidate, said “Miriam leaves the world less wise, less bright.”
“Words cannot begin to express the deep sadness that not only I and my family but the entire country feels at the devastatingly sad news of Sen Miriam’s passing,” Marcos said in a statement.
“Our beacon of wisdom, intelligence and ever-present humor and good sense has flickered out…Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad, sad time. We take solace knowing that now there will be fewer tears in heaven,” he said.