Philippine Senator and former presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago died from lung cancer Thursday, at age 71.
The lawmaker ran for office three times in total, in 1992, 1998 and again in May 2016 against the now incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, reports the BBC.
The deteriorating state of Santiago’s health was evident in the run-up to the elections, when she could be seen sitting and resting during televised debates. The former judge was known as the Iron Lady of Asia for her frankness and drive against corruption.
“She was both known and feared for her quick wit and her even quicker tongue in court and at rallies,” said the BBC’s Rico Hizon.
Tributes poured in on Twitter, and a commemorative Facebook post had received more than 400,000 shares and 54,000 comments at time of writing.
President Duterte released a statement of condolence, remembering Santiago as a “graftbuster” who “[ate] death threats for breakfast.”
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo described Santiago as her “dear and true friend and loyal ally,” reports GMA Network.
In 2011, Santiago became the first Filipino and the first Asian person from a developing country to be elected judge at the International Criminal Court in the Hague — a post she later turned down because of illness.
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