MANILA, Philippines–Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has been advised by her doctors to “disengage from politics” after she allegedly suffered from a “mild stroke” Wednesday, a statement from her office said on Thursday.
“Technically, Sen. Santiago suffered a mild stroke after her TV interview,” the statement said, quoting the senator’s ophthalmologist from East Avenue Medical Center, Dr. Rodolfo Chuanico.
“Fortunately, the stroke went to her eye instead of her brain. If she continues as usual, a second stroke will be imminent,” Chuanico said.
Santiago’s office, in a statement Wednesday, said the senator suffered from hypertension after a television interview which caused some of her blood vessels in her right eye to burst.
Her blood pressure allegedly shot up to 190/115.
The blood clot in the senator’s eye, Chuatuco said, was already a warning that another abrupt rise in blood pressure might cause a stroke.
He then advised Santiago “to avoid provocation that might incite her to anger, because she needs to be healthy, in case the International Criminal Court calls her for duty this March.”
Santiago’s cardiologist, Dr. Esperanza Cabral, also advised the senator from going to the Senate on Monday, the resumption of sessions of Congress.
Cabral, former Health Secretary, said Santiago should be “insulated from political news” for the time being.
“If Sen. Santiago reports to the Senate on Monday, she might have a sudden rise in blood pressure and suffer either a stroke or a heart attack. She already had a mild stroke some ten years ago,” Cabral said in the same statement issued Thursday.
Cabral recalled that Santiago’s two younger brothers died separately because of heart attacks in their sleep.
“With that kind of medical history, Sen. Santiago will be placing herself in harm’s way if she continues her battle against her fellow senators. I have told her that her political enemies might be dancing on her grave if she continues to fight them singlehandedly,” she added.
Following the doctors advice, Santiago will no longer be available for media interviews starting Wednesday and will continue indefinitely “until her blood pressure stabilizes,” her spokesman,Tom Tolibas said.
Santiago herself said she would “consider seriously the advice” of her doctors.
“Dr. Cabral pulled me out of my first stroke. I was temporarily paralyzed, but I got over it. She is one of the most respected cardiologists in our country. I have to follow her instructions,” said the senator.