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Miriam seeks extended leave

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SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday sought an extension of her medical leave from the Senate, saying she is “physically and mentally weak” due to a side effect of her cancer medication.

“This signifies that I shall continue on medical leave for cancer,” Santiago said in a letter, dated May 24, 2016, to Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Copies of the letter were sent to the Senate Secretariat, Senate Journal Editor and the Senate Media.

Santiago, who ran for president in May 9 elections under her own People’s Reform Party, said one of her medications has produced a side effect of anorexia or the inability to eat and that has rendered her  physically and mentally weak.

“In any event, my staff and I are ready to vacate our offices by June 30, 2016,” said Santiago, referring to the end of her term. 

During the presidentiall debate last March, Santiago, who earlier said she has licked her cancerous cells, failed to attend the event, saying she was accepted as fit to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill.

Sometimes in June 2014, Santiago announced she was diagnosed with Stage Four lung cancer. She went on a medical leave from the Senate as she underwent treatment, which included the use of a “miracle drug.”

When she filed her Certificate of Candidacy for president in October last year, the senator said she had gone over the hump of the disease although admitting she still has the lingering “cancer symptoms” like her crackling and soft voice.

Santiago also said she joined the international clinical trial to gain free access to the medication, which would otherwise be too expensive.

She said the trial requires her to report for outpatient radiation treatment at the hospital daily for a short period.

Despite being afflicted with cancer, the senator has delivered speeches in several universities around the country, banking on her popularity among the youth to buoy her presidential bid.

In all her campus speeches, Santiago urged millennial voters to vote for candidates with academic, professional, and moral excellence. She also asks the youth to campaign for her recalling the massive impact of youth volunteers in her 1992 run.

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