VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday hailed former Philippine president Corazon Aquino as a ?woman of deep and unwavering faith? after her death from colon cancer.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church was "deeply saddened" by the death of Aquino, who led a movement to restore democracy to the country in 1986, the Vatican said.
Benedict praised the former leader of the Catholic nation for her ?courageous commitment to the freedom of the Filipino people? and ?her firm rejection of violence and intolerance?
Her efforts were a vital ?contribution to the rebuilding of a just and cohesive political order in her beloved homeland,? the pope said in a telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The pope sent his "heartfelt condolences" to Aquino's family and the country's authorities after her family announced early Saturday she had lost her battle with cancer.
?Cory? Aquino was propelled into the political spotlight in 1986, leading millions of Filipinos in protests against the corrupt regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.