SEN. Miriam Defensor–Santiago is highly qualified to be president of the Philippines but she can’t completely erase all doubts about her health condition unless she agrees to make public the medical clearance showing she had indeed already licked her lung cancer.
Several months back, she revealed that she was suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer. That meant she had a terminal ailment. As a medical practitioner had noted, only 1 percent of Stage 4 cancer patients survive. We who admire her certainly wish that she would be in that miracle group. We would have taken her word that she’s already cancer-free except for the fact that she’s vying for the presidency – and it’s but proper that questions about her health condition should be fully answered.
In 2004, former Sen. Raul S. Roco run for president and never revealed that he had prostate cancer. Like Senator Miriam, Senator Raul would have made an ideal president but his terminal ailment made it impossible for him to campaign fully. He abandoned the energy-sapping nationwide campaign to seek treatment abroad. We can only speculate if he would have lived longer had he not aspired for the presidency.
Sen. Miriam shouldn’t go ballistic over calls that she make public her claimed clean bill of health. After all, the public wouldn’t have known about her cancer if she didn’t reveal it in the first place. In fact, she should proudly wave to all and sundry that medical clearance for it would prove her being unsinkable. Very few could lick Stage 4 of cancer and her clearance should be proof of the miracle she had received from above.
About three months ago, she said that her correspondent doctor, Dr. Mark Kris, chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said that “although no patient can be pronounced cured of cancer, she has been able to control the cancer, meaning the cancer growth in her left lung has been arrested, by following his prescription.”
She said that Kris had a consultation with her last July 17, together with her local doctors – Dr. Esperanza Cabral, cardiologist, Dr. Gary Lorenzo, oncologist, and Dr. Ruth Divinagracia, pulmonologist.
She added that the team, together with Kris, examined at the St. Luke’s Global City Medical Center all her Positron Emission Tomography and CT Scans “which Kris had already fully studied in his NY clinic.” The quoted phrase is important because Kris was in the Philippines for only three days.
She shouldn’t suspect that those who want her to make public her medical records want to derail her bid for Malacañang. I have high respect for her and I want her to win, but I also want her to show that she has already licked her lung cancer. We don’t want a sickly tenant in Malacañang.
In a previous column before I had heard her reveal that she was suffering from terminal cancer, I wrote that she’s a more credible graft fighter than BS Aquino The Last, she has more experience in governance than Sen. Grace Poe, and she should be a preferred alternative candidate by those who are despairing at the inability of Vice President Jejomar Binay to explain credibly the extremely high cost of Makati City buildings. But most of all, she should be the primary choice of those who don’t want an Aquino clone in Malacañang in 2016. (She once said of then Tarlac Rep. BS Aquino: “He’s a sorry excuse for a scion of a great man whom I would want to educate – if he is educable.”)
Politics in legislative inquiry
I’ve just watched on CNN the inquiry by the US House Select Committee on Benghazi with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the hot seat and I noted that even the supposed sophisticated American legislators wouldn’t hesitate to use congressional inquiries as weapon against political opponents – just like their Filipino counterparts. On second thought, wasn’t it from the Americans that Filipino lawmakers have learned this political chicanery?
I learned that the inquiry into the Benghazi incident, where an American diplomat and four other Americans were killed by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, was the EIGHTH undertaken by the Republican-controlled US Congress. One Democrat said the current inquiry was undertaken because Republicans weren’t satisfied by the answers in the previous inquiries and because Clinton is seeking the presidency.
I also notice one thing: the name plates of committee member don’t use the word “Honorable” or “Hon.” Rather, they use the word “Mr.” and “Ms.”
Oh yes, the late Sen. Joker Arroyo was a rare chairman of the blue ribbon who had refused to be a party to investigations that are meant to sully the reputation of some people or for “fishing expeditions.”