Miriam Santiago: I told God I’m ready, but He wasn’t
After being sidelined for nearly six weeks, presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has returned to the campaign trail, confident about the effectivity of a new cancer treatment and her chances of winning in May.
Santiago picked up the pace of the campaign with a brief but well-attended appearance at her alma mater, the University of the Philippines Visayas, in her Iloilo City hometown on Wednesday.
She appeared stronger than she did in her last campaign appearance on March 4, just before she underwent a clinical trial for a new anticancer pill.
She was joined by running mate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in only the third time that they have appeared together since the campaign period officially began last Feb. 9.
They will again campaign together on Saturday in Baguio City with a visit to the Saint Louis University.
Regaling the packed crowd at the UP Visayas-Iloilo auditorium with several impromptu quips in the Hiligaynon language, Santiago said she was not beaten by her cancer.
“I have cancer. I told God I am ready, but He was never ready,” she said, drawing the loudest cheers from the large crowd that spilled over to the grounds outside the auditorium.
“Today I ask you: Convince, persuade your parents and those nearest you to use their wits these elections,” Santiago said, reiterating her demand for academic, professional and moral excellence in public officials.
Attacking the other candidates’ supposed lack of academic qualifications, she said: “If it were up to me, presidential candidates would be taking an IQ test.”
At one point, she said some candidates cannot memorize their notes, alluding to Vice President Jejomar Binay’s insistence on holding on to his documents during the March 21 presidential debate, which Santiago missed.
In her 13-minute speech, Santiago gave a rundown of her economic platform that includes lowering income taxes, raising the minimum wage, adding grant-for-work under the conditional cash transfer program and prohibiting labor contractualization.
Marcos spent most of his 10-minute speech praising Santiago, saying he was the “luckiest man” for being chosen as her running mate.
The pair did not entertain questions from the audience after delivering their speeches, staying for a little under an hour.
Briefly intercepted by reporters upon her arrival in a hotel, Santiago said she felt better and dismissed her poor survey ratings.
“The medicines appear to be working. I’m weaker than normal but certainly I can go around,” said the senator, who walked without assistance and carried her own handbag.
She said many people did not believe in surveys anymore, adding that she was told that the questionnaires did not include her name.
Santiago, who was diagnosed with advanced (Stage IV) lung cancer in June 2014, said she announced last March 17 that she would take part in a clinical trial for a new anticancer pill. TVJ
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