Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago Dies at 71

Former Senator and Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor-Santiago passed away Thursday morning after battling lung cancer.

“She died this morning in her sleep, she was unconscious when she passed away,” her husband Narciso Santiago confirmed. He added that the former senator died at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City where she had been treated for complications of lung cancer.

She was first diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2014.

Senator Grace Poe, Santiago’s fellow presidential candidate, and presiding a hearing at a Senate committee on the Freedom of Information Bill, paused for a moment of silence to offer a prayer for her former colleague.

“I would like to ask we take a moment of silence to pray for the soul of an esteemed, a respected courageous colleague, a woman who had helped us in the past pass the freedom of information bill. May we pray for Senator Santiago, she passed away a few minutes ago,” she said.

In her tenure in public office, Santiago served in all three branches of the Philippine government.

In 1988, she was named laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, and served three terms as senator. She had three failed presidential bids in 1992, 1998 and 2016.

Santiago, in 2012, became the first Filipina and the first Asian from a developing country to be elected a judge of the International Criminal Court.