'Miriam suffered mild stroke after interview'

Posted at 01/17/2013 12:53 PM | Updated as of 01/17/2013 5:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Doctors of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago advised her to “disengage from politics” or else risk another stroke or even a heart attack.

Quoting former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Santiago’s media bureau said she was advised to refrain from going to work on Monday and then temporarily “insulate” herself from political news.

“If Sen. Santiago reports to the Senate on Monday, she might have a sudden rise in blood pressure and suffer either a stroke or a heart attack.  She already had a mild stroke some ten years ago,” Cabral said. She is Santiago’s cardiologist.

Santiago is currently in a word war with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Panfilo Lacson. After a television show on Wednesday, her eyes went red, which showed later a burst blood vessel arising from hypertension.

“With that kind of medical history, Sen. Santiago will be placing herself in harm’s way if she continues her battle against her fellow senators. I have told her that her political enemies might be dancing on her grave if she continues to fight them singlehandedly,” Cabral said.

Santiago’s two brothers died because of heart attacks in their sleep.

The senator’s ophthalmologist, Dr. Rodolfo Chuanico of the East Avenue Medical Center, also said the blood clot in her eyes already showed shades of a stroke.

“Technically, Sen. Santiago suffered a mild stroke after her TV interview.  Fortunately, the stroke went to her eye instead of her brain.  If she continues as usual, a second stroke will be imminent,” Chuanico said. Santiago was interviewed by Karen Davila on ANC's Headstart Wednesday.

Santiago said she will not be available for media interviews and will seriously consider the advice of her doctors.

“Dr. Cabral pulled me out of my first stroke.  I was temporarily paralyzed, but I got over it.  She is one of the most respected cardiologists in our country.  I have to follow her instructions,” Santiago said.

Santiago said of Dr. Chuanico: “He was waiting for me at the entrance of the hospital.  He put his arm on my shoulder and told me that as a very concerned father substitute, he wants me to ignore and forgive my enemies. I tried to smile."