SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday said there was no backing out from the presidential race despite the questions about her health.
“It’s impossible to change my mind. You can ask my husband...There’s no backing out,” Santiago said.
Santiago was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer in July 2014, and in October last year, when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy for president under her People’s Reform Party, Santiago said she was able to defeat her cancerous cells although some symptoms persisted.
But on Feb. 9 this year, on her way to Ilocos Norte for her campaign kick-off with running mate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Santiago said the signs and symptoms of her disease were gone.
Still, her voice trembled while delivering speeches in her campaign sorties.
During the first leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 in Cagayan de Oro City on Feb. 21, it appeared Santiago was catching her breath while speaking. She was also seen on TV consistently sitting down in between takes and after her turn to speak.
Santiago insisted during the debate that there was no provision in the Constitution disqualifying a person with illness from running for public office.
At the University of Perpetual Help System-Biñan Campus, Santiago admitted that it had been very hard for her to fight corruption in the government in her long years in public service.
She acknowledged that many corrupt officials had the resources to hire black propagandists to destroy her reputation.
“But I love my country with all my heart,” Santiago said.
“This country is not without hope. I will not back out. We will go after them and will not allow them to defeat us.”
Santiago said that, if elected as president, her administration will create about two million jobs by eradicating corruption in the government and by improving the country’s infrastructure.
“That is the first thing to be done—to create two million jobs,” Santiago said.
“In order to provide employment, we have to have additional jobs, and in order to have good jobs, we have to have good businesses. In order to have good businesses, we must get capital both from Filipino businessmen and imported capitalists.”
Santiago said she would invest heavily in public infrastructure development to facilitate economic growth.
“The poor state of public infrastructure that this administration inherited from its predecessor was pushed back further during the last five years. When I assume office, I will hit the ground running,” she said.
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