Duterte: May Miriam's legacy guide Philippines

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2016 03:20 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2016 04:47 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday lamented the death of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, saying he hopes her legacy will guide the country in the future.

In a statement, Duterte expressed his "deepest sorrow" over the passing of Santiago.

He likewise recalled the lawmaker's "sterling career" in public office.

"She is best remembered as a graftbuster 'eating death threats for breakfast' earning her the [title] Iron Lady of Asia. A constitutionalist, she has always been an advocate for the rule of law," he said.

Santiago had said she ate death threats for breakfast when she was Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation during the time of the late President Corazon Aquino, who tasked her to clean up the agency.

"Rest in peace, Madam Senator. May your legacy continue to guide this nation for many years to come," said Duterte, who is currently visiting Vietnam.

Santiago was among the four candidates who went against Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections.

The former lawmaker finished last with 1.5 million votes against Duterte's 16.6 million votes.

Santiago also ran in the 1992 presidential polls but lost to former President Fidel Ramos, whom she accused of stealing the election. She also lost in the 1998 presidential elections won by Joseph Estrada.