Back in form? Santiago stutters, trembles in Dagupan debate
DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines—She appeared in a better shape when she entered the debate venue, and even received the loudest cheers among the candidates vying for the presidency during the third and last presidential debate at the Phinma-University of Pangasinan here.
At first glance, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago appeared stronger than her previous state before taking a break from the campaign trail to undergo a clinical trial for a new anti-cancer pill.
The feisty senator started strong and sharp in her opening statement, when the candidates were asked what would define their administration should they win the highest post in the land. Santiago, an esteemed lawyer, vowed to champion the rule of law over the rule of men.
But as she went on, the ailing senator, who claimed in at least two ocassions that she had already licked cancer, appeared to be struggling with her words, noticeably pausing from time to time and trembling while speaking.
When the candidates were asked for a follow-up to their answers on the issue of job generation, Santiago paused for a moment and asked moderator Karen Davila to repeat the question for her.
But Santiago recovered and condemned contractualization as illegal and “possibly unconstitutional.”
Santiago failed to attend the second presidential debate in Cebu last month after undergoing a clinical trial.
The feisty senator made only six appearances since the campaign period started on February 9. She returned to the campaign trail on April 12 in her hometown, Iloilo City.
Santiago was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2014. Last year, she said the cancerous tumor in her left lung has regressed due to a new expensive drug she had been taking.
In a video uploaded on her Facebook page recently, Santiago thanked her supporters, particularly the youth, for their continued support and said that she has regained her health. IDL
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