MANILA - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who ran for President in the May 9 elections despite battling Stage 4 lung cancer, died early Thursday morning. Her husband Narciso "Jun" Santiago confirmed Santiago had died in her sleep and is set to issue a statement within the day.
While presiding at a Senate hearing on the Freedom of Information bill, Sen. Grace Poe announced her colleague's death and led the chamber in short prayer. Santiago, whose fiery, colorful language - especially against corruption - had endeared her to millions of young voters despite her age (71), had the distinction of serving in three branches of government: a judge during the martial law years, she was appointed to Executive positions after the EDSA revolt, and then began her career as senator in 1995.
Santiago ran for the presidency in May, but lost. It was her third time to run for the highest post in the land. She had been a senator from 1995 to 2001, and 2004 to 2016.Â In 2011, she became the first Filipino to become a judge at the International Criminal Court, but she never took the post, as she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Santiago first made waves as an Immigration chief under then President Corazon Aquino. Santiago was born in 1945 in Iloilo City. She obtained her law degree from the University of the Philippines, and earned her Master of Laws degree and Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Michigan Law School.