SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago said Tuesday the cancer that should demand the Filipinos’ attention is corruption and poverty and not her cancer, which she said should no longer be a concern in her campaign to win the presidency.
She challenged her opponents and their allies to instead debate on the issues of national concern.
Santiago, who is running under the People’s Reform Party, said she was encouraged by the reports that former US President Jimmy Carter had been cured of brain cancer following cutting-edge treatment from experts.
“The positive development in the case of Mr. Carter’s cancer trumps the macabre wishes of my naysayers that I should die before I finish a six-year term as president,” Santiago said.
“If Mr. Carter can do it I, too, can beat cancer to serve the Filipino people.”
She was referring to Carter’s statement that his latest magnetic resonance imaging brain scan “did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones.”
Carter earlier said that his cancer, originally detected in his liver, had spread to his brain.
In June last year, Santiago announced she was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer and then took a leave in the Senate for treatment.
Before filing her Certificate of Candidacy for president in October, she announced that her cancer had been diagnosed as stable as she continued to undergo treatment.
But she also admitted she still had cancer symptoms as she was always gasping for breath.
Santiago has filed several measures to help cancer patients in the Philippines, and those include Senate Bill 2136 or the Childhood Cancer Survivors’ Quality of Life Act, which seeks to improve research and programs on childhood cancer survivorship.
She has also filed Senate Resolution 1215 that calls for a Senate hearing to identify legislative measures that would ease the pain of cancer patients in the Philippines.
Both measures remain pending at the Senate committee on health and demography.
Santiago has been lagging behind all the presidential candidates in next year’s election, but she has been leading in the mock polls and online surveys.
Santiago won by a landslide in the mock polls at the University of the Philippines Los Baños recently. And she was the runaway winner in the Nov. 26 mock elections in the UPLB.