BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte: It was a very brief speech for a presidential candidate, but the message was not lost in the brevity of it.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday vowed to imprison all corrupt officials, especially those who plundered the pork barrel, which the Supreme Court declared illegal.
“[There is] first class, business class, ordinary [jail]. Mamili sila pero kulong silang lahat [They can choose but all of them are going to prison],” she said in her 11-minute speech of her plans for the corrupt.
Santiago, who is battling lung cancer, added that her running mate, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is ready to succeed her if she will not be able to finish her term as President.
The feisty senator took potshots at her opponents in the presidential race, some of whom she accused of early campaigning.
“There are some who went around early, a clear violation of the law,” Santiago told students of the Marcos State University (MSU).
She also chided Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who are also running for President in the May 9 polls.
“There is one who does not know her parents and yet she claims to be a natural-born [Filipino],” Santiago said, obviously referring to Poe, a foundling, who is facing disqualification cases before the Supreme Court.
“There is another who is accused of stealing public funds, and yet does not want to answer the questions where he got his wealth,” she said, alluding to Binay, who has been charged with graft before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Santiago said a presidential candidate must be beyond reproach.
“He must not have committed any corruption in his previous posts. He must be clean,” she added.
The senator entertained the crowd with her pick-up lines.
“May papel ka ba, pahingi ng papel kasi mahalaga ang papel mo sa buhay ko,” Santiago said to the delight of the students.
She obviously had difficulty breathing and walking and had to be assisted during the rally.