SURPRISED by her No. 2 ranking in a recent survey about voter preferences for the 2016 elections and elated over gains in her cancer treatment, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Wednesday she is ready again to pursue her presidential dream.
In the 1998 elections, Santiago ran for president under her own People’s Reform Party but was defeated by former President Fidel Ramos by a slim margin. The senator has consistently maintained that she was cheated.
In July 2014, she announced she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, but said she would consider running for president if she could lick her cancer. Because of her illness, Santiago stepped down as an elected judge of the International Criminal Court in June.
Santiago said Wednesday she was “happily surprised” by the results of a survey conducted by Publicus Asia, a lobbying and political management company, that had her in the No. 2 spot for most preferred president.
Santiago came in after Poe and was followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Francis Escudero, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
Poe, a neophyte senator, recently dislodged Binay from most opinion polls where he was leading until the government filed a series of corruption charges against him.
Santiago said all the presidential aspirants mentioned in the survey are active in government service except for her, who is on qualified medical leave from the Senate.
Santiago said she was “elated and gratified” that voters still considered her, despite her absence of over a year.
At the same time, Santiago said, her oncologist, Dr. Mark Kris, who is chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, consulted with her team of local doctors Friday and pronounced that the cancer growth in her left lung has been arrested.
At present, Santiago occasionally participates in Senate work, but mostly remains in her La Vista house, where she has produced two best-selling joke books and the 2015 editions of over two dozen law books.
The senator says she exercises by walking some two kilometers every day.
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