Miriam says she was offered P300M to back out from presidential race
LOS BANOS, Laguna—Presidential aspirant Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said she has received feelers to back out from the presidential race and was offered up to P300 million to reimburse her campaign expenses.
“Marami sila pero hindi ako ang kausap nila, ang asawa ko (There are many of them but they don’t speak to me but to my husband),” she told reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of her campus tour at the University of the Philippines (UP) here.
The feisty senator, who had been appearing in public more frequently after taking a short break from her anticancer treatment, lamented her consistent bottom ranking in commercial surveys.
“Kung susundin natin ang kagustuhan ng survey firms (If we would follow what the survey firms say), they will be the ones to choose our next leaders. Our right to vote will be forfeited in their favor. Sila ngayon ang magiging kingmaker niyan (They would become the kingmaker). Hindi naman pwede yun (That would not be appropriate),” she said in her 10-minute speech delivered at Baker Hall to an audience of mostly students and faculty.
Because of her poor standing in surveys, Santiago said this could have prevented her contributors for her campaign.
“Ang hirap ng kalagayan ko, pinapababa nila ang standing ko sa surveys para mawalan ng gana ang contributors. Pag walang contributors, walang funding. Pag walang funding, pipilitin mag-withdraw at bibigyan daw nila ako ng up to P300 million ang expenses ko. Taga-UP ata ako. Aanhin ko ang perang iyon? Tatanda na ako bago matapos bilangin yun,” she said.
(I’m in a difficult situation, they are making my survey standing low to prevent contributors for my campaign. If there are no contributors, there would be no funding. Because I have no funding, they are insisting that I withdraw and they would give me up to P300 million to reimburse my campaign expenses. I’m from UP. What would I do with that money? I would grow old even before I’m done counting it.)
In the latest Pulse Asia survey conducted from April 16 to 20, Santiago’s rating dropped from three percent to two percent.
“Every time mag survey sila dahil bayaran ‘tong mga ‘to lagi akong nasa ilalim. Di bale dahil late ako nag kampanya o dahil may sakit ako. Pero bakit sa lahat ng pamantasan sa ating bansa, saan man mapunta lalo na sa UP campuses bakit palagi akong number one?” she said.
(Every time they would release a survey, as they are paid hacks, I am always in the last place. It would not have mattered because I started campaigning late or I have an ailment. But why am I always in the first place in all the universities wherever I go, especially at UP campuses?)
During the final leg of presidential debate in Pangasinan lastt Sunday, the senator said she will never quit the presidential race.
“For those who think that I should withdraw because I have once been a cancer patient, this is what I say: I am now normal. I can think and I can act and I can pray, she told the crowd in her closing statement.
“Ngayon, gusto niyo akong mag-urong, ang sagot ko sa kanila ((Now, if you want me to back out, my answer to them): I will never quit! I will never stop! I will never withdraw!” she told the jubilant audience.
Santiago, who is limiting her appearances to school visits similar to her 1992 presidential campaign, is scheduled to appear at the University of Negros Occidental in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental on Friday. RAM
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