Miriam confirms tandem with Bongbong
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Thursday confirmed that Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will be her running mate in 2016.
“I think we mutually chose each other,” Santiago said, referring to Marcos, who had filed his certificate of candidacy as an independent vice presidential candidate.
In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Marcos said he met on Wednesday with Santiago’s husband, former DILG undersecretary Narciso “Jun” Santiago Jr., to discuss a possible alliance, but stopped short of confirming he had agreed to be Santiago’s running mate.
“I can confirm that I had a lunch meeting with Secretary Jun Santiago yesterday [Wednesday],” the senator said. “We agreed to meet again soon.”
Santiago refused to divulge further details on the Santiago-Marcos tandem but told reporters that she will file her COC at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, the last day of the registration of candidates. She said she is not sure if Marcos will accompany her.
“I don’t know if he’ll be there but he probably will be,” Santiago told reporters after her induction to the Hall of Fame of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA).
In announcing her candidacy during the launch of her book on Tuesday, she said, “I think it would be prudent [to run for President]because I would disappoint a lot of people if I don’t do that.”
Santiago, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2014, said she is 100 percent sure of running for President and she can only be stopped if she is struck again by cancer.
The senator has been on sick leave since she publicly announced she has Stage 4 lung cancer.
Despite her medical condition, she remains to be the most prolific legislator for having the most number of bills and resolutions filed.
Santiago said she will be running under her own party, the People’s Reform Party (PRP), which was established in 1992 when she first ran for President.
It will be the third time for Santiago to seek the presidency.
Her first attempt was in 1992 when she lost to Fidel Ramos, the candidate endorsed by former President Corazon Aquino.
Santiago placed 2nd to Ramos, getting 4.4 million votes or 19.72 percent of the 24.2 million votes cast. Ramos got 5.3 million votes.
Santiago placed the outcome of the elections under protest, but it was eventually dismissed on a technicality by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Media reports at the time said Santiago was leading the canvassing of votes for the first five days.
Following a string of power outages, the tabulation concluded, and Ramos was declared President-elect.
Santiago again ran in 1998 but only placed 4th in a field of 10 candidates.
She received 797,206 votes or just 2.96 percent of the total votes cast, while the winner, Vice President Joseph Estrada got 10.7 million votes or 39.86 percent of the total votes cast.
No effect on Moro law
Marcos on Thursday gave his assurance that his vice presidential bid will not get in the way of the Senate deliberation on his version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is being referred to as the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR).
Marcos, who heads the Senate local government committee, vowed to do everything humanly possible to finish it.
He said the committee will immediately resume deliberations once the chamber passes the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) on third and final reading.
It has been a practice of the chamber to put all pending legislation on the back seat to give way to the passage of the national budget, Marcos added.
The Senate, before going on a three-week break, was already on the interpellation period on the BLBAR and is expected to begin with the period of amendments once Congress resumes its session on November 3.
Senate plenary debates on the BLBAR are going smoothly, unlike in the House of Representatives where quorum remains to be a major stumbling block.
“We will go back to it [BLBAR] immediately, maybe November or before Christmas, as soon as the budget is finished,” Marcos said.