Miriam hits rivals for premature campaigning
Perseus Echeminada (The Philippine Star) - February 9, 2016 - 9:00am

BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte, Philippines – Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago launched her campaign here yesterday, hitting her rivals and questioning their integrity for embarking on premature campaigning.

She said other presidential bets had started their campaign much earlier, circumventing election laws.

“Hindi pa nga sila presidente (they are not yet president) nag-violate na ng batas (the laws),” she stressed.

Santiago was with her runningmate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whom she wishes to be the next president of the country in case they both win and “something happens” to her.

“The country needs a young idealistic leader who will take over the reins of government should I be elected and something happens to me,” she told supporters at the plaza of Batac City, hometown of Marcos’ father and namesake former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Santiago added that should she win in the elections, she would put in prison all those who have pocketed their pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund of lawmakers.

She added she will bring them to brand new jails with different amenities.

“May first class, business class, ordinary. Mamili sila pero kulong silang lahat (they could choose but they will all be in jail),” she said to the delight of the audience.

Santiago, who hails from Iloilo, said she launched her campaign in Ilocos Norte because Ilocanos are special to her.

“I came here because I’ve always admired the Ilocanos and to signify my wholehearted support for Bongbong Marcos as the next vice president,” Santiago said.

Marcos vowed to end the political division that has pervaded for decades if he is elected. 

He called on his supporters to help him in his campaign for national unity to move the country forward.

“That’s why I started the campaign here because our fellow Ilokanos have shown how to unite. The solid north… unity is not only for the solid north but also for the whole country,” Marcos said.

He said the country has not moved forward because the current leaders have fostered the politics of division.

The kick-off ceremony also marked the first time Marcos and Santiago were seen together in public since they first announced their tandem for the elections last year.

It was also the first time Santiago was seen in public in a long time. She claimed she had been cured of stage four lung cancer.

The two candidates arrived together on board a private jet at the Laoag City International Airport at around 9 a.m.

Marcos, together with his sister Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee, held a motorcade all the way to the Laoag City provincial capitol as thousands of residents lined the streets from the airport to the provincial capitol and later to Batac City. Santiago did not join the motorcade.

They then proceeded to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Batac to hear mass.

Marcos’ mother Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda and his wife, lawyer Liza Marcos, later joined them.

Santiago joined them in the kick-off rally beside the Our Lady of Immaculate Church where they formalized their tandem for the May 9 elections.

Bongbong tied to ill-gotten wealth cases

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has tied Marcos Jr. to various cases involving alleged ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the Marcos family during the dictatorship of his father.

In a statement released Monday night, the PCGG refuted the lawmaker’s claim that he is no longer involved in the cases filed by the government against him and his family. – With Janvic Mateo, Ariel Paolo Tejada

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