SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago has been rushed to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) and is getting treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for pneumonia, a complication of her lung cancer, her husband Narciso “Jun” Santiago said on Wednesday.
A press statement released by her office said Santiago, who is battling stage-four lung cancer, was confined in a private room three days ago but was transferred to the ICU on Tuesday.
Although the senator is already in a stable condition, she is not allowed to receive visitors. Santiago will also not accept flowers.
“Miriam is bearing well with her trademark sense of humor,” the statement said.
“Only my body is sick, not my brain. I am not yet physically fit to attend plenary sessions. However, I have managed to discharge my duties as chair of certain Senate committees and I continue to file bills and resolutions on a weekly basis,” Santiago said earlier.
The senator ran for President in the recently concluded elections with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as her running mate.
She was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in July 2014 and went on a medical leave for her treatment.
Although she could not attend Senate sessions, Santiago managed to perform her duties as a lawmaker.
Heading the Senate committees on Foreign Relations and Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, she held several committee hearings in connection with the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and even came out with a committee report stating that Malacanang’s version of the proposed measure is unconstitutional.
In the 16th Congress, she co-authored several bills approved into law, including the Open Learning and Distance Education Act; the Youth Entrepreneurship Act; the Student-Athletes Protection Act; the Open High School System Act; and the Fair Competition Act.
Her third and final term as a senator will end on June 30.
Last week, Santiago told Senate President Franklin Drilon that she was extending her medical leave because her cancer treatment left her physically weak.
“One of the medications [for cancer]has produced as a side effect anorexia, which renders me physically weak,” she said in her letter to Drilon.
Praying for Miriam
News about Santiago’s health condition quickly spread on social media and netizens took to Facebook to express their concern.
Marcos was among the first to send his prayers for her immediate recovery.
In a statement, he said he joins the whole nation in praying for the immediate recovery of Santiago.
“Senator Santiago has proven to be a relentless fighter against corruption and incompetence in government all throughout her career,” Marcos noted.
He also expressed hope that Santiago would again win the fight and be on her way to full recovery.
Santiago thanked her family, friends, supporters, fans and others who prayed for her recovery and sent their good wishes on the social media.
Santiago’s official Facebook page was flooded with messages from her supporters.
One Facebook user posted a message saying that she went to MMC to bring something to the senator but was not allowed to give it to Santiago.
“At MMC right now, Senator Miriam. Tried to send something, but it’s not allowed. Praying that you’ll get well soon. I belong to the one million plus voters who proudly voted for you. God bless you. Hugs, kisses, and prayers!” the message read.
Another Facebook user expressed confidence that Santiago will overcome her condition because the senator is strong and brave.
“Madam, we are not yet ready to lose a gem, rare treasure of the gov’t and academics. The gold standard for excellence. Prayers for you and we hope you get well soon enough. We miss your “banat” and “hugot” and your banter,” said Facebook user Xydian Aki Ferra Lycanus.
“Get well soon madam Senator #Meriam Defensor Santiago…I pray and claim the victory for your fast recovery. Be strong, God will give you the strength to overcome your illnesses,” said Shawie Irene.
Nems Saceda posted, “Please fight for ur health madam. Philippines and Filipino needs u. We will pray for ur health and fast recovery. We love u. God bless u madam… ur my PRESIDENT forever…”
“Mam please get well. You are still needed in this confused and often chaotic world. We pray for your health,” posted Facebook user Paul Jonathan Sia Tio.