Miriam: Corrupt will be given choice of jail–ordinary, business or first-class

/ 01:09 AM February 10, 2016

BATAC, Ilocos Norte—In what could be her last political campaign, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago Tuesday said she planned to change the country’s politics and go after the corrupt.


Santiago and running mate, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., appeared for the first time as a tandem on Tuesday as they kicked off their presidential and vice presidential campaigns in the heart of Marcos country in Batac, Ilocos Norte province.

“This is what I promise: Once I become the President, all the people who stole the people’s money shall be sent promptly to brand-new jails,” Santiago told the crowd outside the Imelda Cultural Center in Batac.


“They can choose their jail. There’s the ordinary, first-class or business class. But they will all be jailed,” she went on, referring to airline seats.

Marcos’ mother, former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, after whom the center was named, and sister, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, were among local officials who turned out for their proclamation rally, which was held a stone’s throw away from the Marcos Mansion.

Vestiges of the political campaigns of Marcos’ father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, were evident in the kick-off campaign rallies, as supporters turned out in red, the color of the defunct Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

Santiago reiterated her anticorruption message at Mariano Marcos State University, also in Batac, where she and Marcos proceeded after their brief no-fanfare proclamation rally.

Witty lines

After Marcos gave her the floor, Santiago regaled students with witty “pick-up” lines, and the former first lady and Governor Marcos laughed along with the rest of the audience.


She urged students to choose the right kind of leaders and accused other candidates of violating the law by campaigning ahead of the official campaign period.

Santiago took potshots at two rivals. She said one candidate “is not sure where she was born,” alluding to Sen. Grace Poe, while another candidate “faces many scandals about stealing but is still running,” referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay.

She did not take similar potshots at administration candidate Mar Roxas and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, saying she did not want to make more enemies.

Marcos, whose family is pursued by the government until now for ill-gotten wealth, flew to Laoag City with Santiago in a chartered plane from Pasay City.

During the hourlong trip, Santiago dismissed rumors she would withdraw from the race fueled by her sparse public appearances.

“It’s impossible to change my mind, you can ask my husband. I’m seriously contesting the presidency,” she told the Inquirer.

‘SALAKOT’ COUNTRY Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor-Santiago and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wear the native “salakot” at their kick-off rally in Batac City, IlocosNorte province. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

‘SALAKOT’ COUNTRY Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor-Santiago and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wear the native “salakot” at their kick-off rally in Batac City, IlocosNorte province. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

But four times in her two speeches Tuesday, she volunteered, apparently in jest, that Marcos was capable of taking over as President “if something happens to me.”

In remission

Santiago said she was in remission from her lung cancer but attributed her physical difficulties to a pinched nerve that causes her back pain.

Outside the gates of the Ilocos provincial capitol in Laoag City, Marcos literally stood in his father’s shadow.

The stage displayed a blown-up photo of the late dictator as red shirt-clad supporters chanted “Marcos pa rin!” and flashed the “V” hand sign, reminiscent of the tumultuous 1985 snap presidential election that preceded the February 1986 People Power Revolution that ended the 14-year Marcos dictatorship.

Santiago did not join Marcos in the capitol; she motored directly to Batac where they later met.

Marcos vowed to lead a movement to restore unity for “Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa, Isang Gawa” a slogan his father used under his campaign for a so-called New Society during his martial law regime.

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