Miriam Santiago on election loss: That's life

Thea Alberto-Masakayan, ABS-CBN News

Despite losing in her third attempt at the presidency, Miriam Defensor-Santiago remained positive and asked her supporters to do the same.

In her first statement since the May 9 polls, Santiago called on her followers to "cheer up."

"Cheer up, people! Ganiyan lang talaga ang buhay. The night is darkest just before the sun rises," Santiago said in her Facebook page Wednesday morning.

The feisty senator, who is battling lung cancer, also believes her candidacy had not been futile.

"As long as we stand for something, all our energy and time are not lost," said Santiago.

Santiago did not hold a grand press conference for her concession and opted to tap social media, consistent with how she executed her presidential campaign.

The senator has a huge following in social media, with at least 3.6 million likes in her Facebook page and 2.59 million followers on Twitter.

As of May 11, 10:38 AM, Santiago registered 1,415,876 votes, placing last in the five-way race.

In the 2016 campaign, Santiago barely placed in pre-election polls conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations but was the top choice in universities.

READ: Miriam wants survey firms investigated

Santiago first ran for president in 1992, when she was only 46, in a quixotic campaign anchored on fighting (and insulting) trapos (traditional politicians), support from the youth, and a reformist crusade.

She nearly won then, losing (by cheating, she insists, and filed a protest) by only around 870,000 votes (4-percentage points) to President Cory Aquino's anointed bet, former military and defense chief Fidel V. Ramos.

She ran again in 1998 but placed 7th out of 10 in the race that was won by popular actor and then vice president Joseph Estrada.