MANILA - Malacanang on Thursday joined the nation in mourning Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, saying her death signaled the end of an era in Philippine politics.
Santiago, who ran against President Rodrigo Duterte last May, died in her sleep in the hospital after a long bout with lung cancer. She was 71.
“Her passing also signals the passing of an era of politicians with wide ranging intelligence and the courage to express their true convictions,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“She was a shining light in Philippine political annals for her sharp legal mind, uncompromising stand and acid humor,” Abella said.
Abella also acknowledged Santiago's "profound influence" on the youth.
Santiago got two million votes in the last presidential elections and maintained one of the most active social media communities among the candidates.
She hit the campaign trail, claiming to have "conquered" the disease with the help of experimental drugs. But in some rallies, she was seen visibly fatigued and catching her breath.