Santiago: Race will be between Roxas and me
SHE COULD not say for now who her strongest rival for the presidency would be but Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday noted that with two candidates facing challenges, it may boil down to a race between herself and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
In a phone interview with reporters, Santiago said Sen. Grace Poe was facing disqualification cases for allegedly not being a natural-born Filipino, while Vice President Jejomar Binay was facing plunder and graft complaints in the Ombudsman.
“If the decision will be against her, she would be unable to proceed with her candidacy,” Santiago said of Poe.
In Binay’s case, Santiago said that if the Ombudsman decides against him and he is charged in the Sandiganbayan, he could be denied bail and may be detained like others charged with plunder.
“So these two have question marks. Only [former] Sec. Mar Roxas and I would remain,” she said.
Taking a look at Roxas’ candidacy, she said his survey ratings went up and down and others have said he was not close to the people.
“Let’s see if he can overcome this,” she said, adding that Roxas’ biggest obstacle was his being an “academician” and “not a politician who is active, loud and could easily get along with people.”
“It will be his own personality that might become a problem but there is still time for him to solve that problem.”
As for her own candidacy, Santiago laughed, saying the Senate media knew her shortcomings.
On her probable running mate, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., she said they had a “very loose” alliance and would be campaigning separately as well as make the rounds together.
Santiago said their team-up would not be scared off by “natural critics or enemies” of the Marcoses like leftist organizations.
“So we will go out together or separately.”
Santiago, who claimed to have recovered from stage 4 lung cancer, said she had been hankering to go out as she had been “restless” at home.
But she declined to release her medical records, invoking her right to privacy.
She reacted to a call made on social media by a Dr. Sylvia Estrada Claudio who asked the senator to make her medical records public since she was running for president.
“What does she mean—that I did not have cancer? Why was I absent (from the Senate) for one and a half years? Truancy is not in my record,” Santiago said.
She said Claudio could go to St. Luke’s Medical Center at Global City and ask in writing for her medical records.
She said she would abide by the hospital’s decision on such a request—but at the same time affirmed that the civil and criminal codes disallowed a breach of patient-doctor confidentiality.
“All of these are covered by private human rights,” she said.
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