Bernas: Miriam should run for President


Will it be a showdown between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in 2016?

This scenario came into focus on Wednesday when Santiago announced that she is willing to run for President if there are enough “like-minded” supporters led by Constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas.

“I have licked cancer, and I’m actually thinking of several career options. By 2016, I will be disqualified by law to seek another term as senator,” Santiago said in a statement sent to Senate reporters.

She was reacting to a statement made by Bernas during a television interview aired over ANC news channel, that President Benigno Aquino 3rd should no longer seek a second term and allow other “good people” to lead the country.

Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that crafted the 1987 Constitution, said the attempt to lift the term limit of Aquino is not only against the spirit of the Con-Com but of former President Corazon Aquino, the incumbent leader’s mother.

Bernas added that the President should give Santiago a chance.

“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, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, said.

Last month, Santiago disclosed that she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and that she will be away for six weeks to undergo treatment.

The senator said on August 12 that St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City issued a report on a PET/CT Scan stating that the tumor in her 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,” Santiago added.

If she decides to pursue her presidential bid, she said she may team up with other major political parties but not with Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

In the past elections, Santiago ran under her People’s Reform Party (PRP). But the senator said she is open to coalesce with the Liberal Party (LP) or the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former senator Manuel Villar.

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

Two NP members– senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th–have expressed plans to also run for President.

The LP on the other hand is grooming Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd as the party’s standard-bearer although the President is yet to disclose who will be fielded by the ruling party.

In 1992, Santiago also ran for President but she lost to then-Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, who had been endorsed by Mrs. Aquino.


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  1. Eliseo Jr. P.Tenza on

    I was for President Aquino to run for reelection. But i have lost confidence in him for not supporting his Daang Matuwid policy of going after suspected corruipt officers, like VP Binay. The leaders of the Philippines should abandon the Kumpadre, Kaibigan system, otherwise Pres. Aquinos Daang Matuwid ay magiging Daang Bumaluktot.
    Go Sen. Santiago, run for President, you are the last hope of the Philippines. Please clean up the corruption in the Philippines and go for “Pamumunong Malinis”.

  2. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Is Fr. Bernas joking? If he is, then Miriam must be taking it seriously. Miriam has been very consistent in her behavior, official or unofficial and her taking the challenge of Fr. Bernas could end up in anything but, I WAS JOKING or I WAS LYING. God bless the Philippines.

  3. jesus nazario on

    I have nothing against Ma’m Miriam (in fact my whole family likes her) but is she willing to be JUST a SPOILER rather than a CLEAR CHOICE ? Her entry clearly will serve primarily the purpose of splitting the opposition vote to hopefully reverse the administration’s desperate pangs of an impending trashing in the polls that is if the election is conducted fair and square (read: sans Smartmatic PCOS). Miriam should reflect more if she will allow being just a lifesaver in the post election troubles of a fast-sinking President rather than be true to the Filipino people and serve them with all the honesty she can muster. This may mean being a second opposition choice (since she said she cannot join UNA) rather than joining the much-hated Lapiang Pabaya while splitting the Binay votes. Your vote splitting role can serve a better purpose this way.

    Better, why don’t we use instead what is called Approval Voting in lieu of the present archaic and not-really-reflective-of the true-choice-of-the-people Plurality Voting ? Approval Voting neutralizes the harm vote splitting causes by having voters have NOT ONLY ONE choice written on the ballot but as many as one less the total number of candidates for the president.

  4. Big YES, If Sen. Santiago decides to run for President, she doesn’t have to coalesce with any political party, she has the credibility of a well experienced lawmaker, to become the next President our country desperately need.

  5. I think she would be a very good candidate for presidency. She takes no bullshit, and is very open in her criticisms. the only problem I have are the people who work for her, her supposedly “campaign managers” in the 5th district of Iloilo, specifically in the city itself and in San Dionisio Iloilo. They used to carry guns, intimidate the people and amass good money from her campaign funds. Although the intimidation is not widespread coming from these people, the villages and towns they went to are fearsome. I cannot imagine what they will do when Miriam is in power, they will be more powerful and even without Miriam’s knowledge. These people should be replaced by new honest ones, and people who work WITH the masses, not intimidate them. She should also select a vice presidential candidate who is trustworthy and could carry on her agenda in case her medical conditions get bad. Then I will be for her. And…I hope Miriam gets to know about this.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      She knows it. She is a genius. But, is Miriam very serious in serving her countrymen or simply will be out there to say later, I was joking or I was lying. God bless the Philippines.