Miriam licks cancer, eyes running in 2016
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Saying that she has licked cancer, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is now open to running for president in 2016.

Santiago reacted positively after constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas said on television that President Aquino should no longer seek a second term and “give Miriam naman a chance.”

Although sidelined by her ailment, Santiago said that she would run for president in 2016, if there were enough “like-minded” supporters such as Bernas.

Bernas was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that wrote the 1987 Constitution, which gives the president a single term of six years.

Santiago announced yesterday that she has started to overcome her lung cancer, which was diagnosed last June.

“I have licked cancer, and I’m actually thinking of several career options,” she said in a statement.

She also outlined her life options as she reported being cured of the “Big C.”

“By 2016, I will be disqualified by law to seek another term as senator. At present, my life projects include participation in the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) based in Rome, or writing books on foreign policy at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC,” she said.

Last June, Santiago was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer by oncologists led by Ronald Natale and Gary Lorenzo, coordinating with cardiologist Esperanza Cabral, herself a cancer survivor.

Santiago was placed on medication called Tarceva (aka Erlotinib) for six weeks, taking only one tablet a day.

Last Aug. 12, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City issued a report on a PET/CT scan stating that the tumor in Santiago’s “left lung has regressed,” meaning that it has become smaller.

“The latest lab test shows that the cancer cells are waving a white flag. During this time, I only have to work on my stamina. During the six-week period of treatment, I was even able to work on the 2014 editions of some 10 law books which are scheduled for release by the end of the year,” she said.

“I’m not going to be coy. Society leaders have urged me to seek the presidency. I can rise to the occasion, although I was following the other signposts on the road to recovery,” Santiago added.

Although she has always run for public office under her own People’s Reform Party, Santiago said this time she will need to coalesce with one or both the Liberal Party headed by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and the Nationalista Party headed by former Sen. Manny Villar.

“After I was diagnosed with cancer, senator Manny went to my house and told me, among other things, that my popularity level is very high. But he also said that he is encouraging several hopefuls to raise their survey ratings,” Santiago said.

Santiago quoted yesterday from a poem that she recited during the funeral ceremonies for her son who died at 23 years old: “Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep.”

AFTER I BERNAS BIG C BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY CANCER CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION ESPERANZA CABRAL INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION JOAQUIN BERNAS SANTIAGO
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