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If healed, Santiago to run in 2016

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 07:48 AM November 15, 2014
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Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago vowed Friday to “claim” the presidency in 2016 if she’s completely healed of cancer.

Speaking before a huge crowd of students at the Ateneo de Manila University, Santiago said that if elected President, she would pick half of her Cabinet from the ranks of the youth.

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Santiago, president of People’s Reform Party, is even open to coalescing with the ruling Liberal Party, or the Nacionalista Party.

There’s one big condition, though: she should be completely healed of her lung cancer before she takes another crack at the presidency.

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“In the 2016 presidential elections, when I’m rid of my lung cancer, I intend to claim the presidency,” she declared in her speech on youth activism, drawing applause and cheers from the huge crowd of students that packed Leong Hall.

That way, she said she could impose on Philippine politics “what we need so badly: internal discipline, a defined vision and policy agenda, and internal exercise of democracy.”

Santiago has been taking medication since she was diagnosed with lung cancer in June. So far, 90 percent of her cancer cells have regressed, she said.

During the open forum with reporters, the senator said she was open to coalescing with the ruling party, or with the NP, headed by former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

“I can’t succeed in my own party alone, the People’s Reform Party,” she said of her party in her failed presidential bid in 1992. “After many years of experience, I’ve decided that I should enter into a coalition with a more established older party such as the Liberal Party or the Nacionalista Party.”

But she clarified that she had not made that decision to run for President, saying this all depends “on whether I will fully recover from my cancer.”

“Right now, you might have noticed, I run out of breath. That is why I was running through my speech, instead of taking my time. You’ll notice later that there are certain physical infirmities that I suffer from, that my husband is very familiar with,” she said, drawing chuckles from the crowd.

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That’s why, for now, she could not say who will be her running mate.

Whether she would run for President is “speculative” at this point, she said.

“Clearly it’s for the Ateneans, or other students in Metro Manila campuses, and in campuses of other capital cities, to determine whether I should run,” she added.

Asked what makes her determined to run for President, she said: “I can’t stand it anymore. I’m outraged [by our brand of politics]. The people we elect into office have no character; they don’t have moral fortitude,” she said. “I can’t live in this country and read the news day after day, and just act as if they’re a normal course of event. That is not true.”

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Ateneo de Manila University, Liberal Party, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Nacionalista Party, People’s Reform Party, Santiago, Senator Santiago
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