Miriam licks cancer, may run in 2016

Posted at 08/27/14 5:25 PM

MANILA - Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said her cancer has regressed and she is now on the road to recovery – and even the presidency.

In a statement, Santiago said: "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."

She said she will run as president as long as there are enough "like-minded" supporters such as constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas.

"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 sign posts on the road to recovery," she said.

In an interview with ANC, Bernas told President Benigno Aquino III to stop mulling about running in 2016 and give Santiago a chance.

Santiago, who ran in the past under the People’s Reform Party, said she will need to coalesce with the Liberal Party and/or the Nacionalista Party.

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

Santiago was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer back in June.
Lung cancer specialists Dr. Ronald Natale and Dr. Gary Lorenzo, coordinating with cardiologist and cancer survivor Dr. Esperanza Cabral, placed her on a medication called Tarceva for six weeks at one tablet a day.

The tablet is an alternative to chemotherapy.

She said the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City issued last August 12 a report showing that the tumor in her left lung, which alone was affected, has “regressed” or gotten 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,” she said.

Besides her 2016 plans, Santiago said: "My life projects include participation in the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) based in Rome, or writing books on foreign policy at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.”