Saturday, June 28, 2008

A crazy Presidential ambition

Sen Santiago running for president to ‘terrorize’ foes
By Maila Ager
First Posted 13:50:00 06/27/2008

NEW YORK CITY -- If she is not elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said she might run for president “just to put terror in the heart of my enemies.”

But if she does get a seat in ICJ, Santiago said she would resign as senator.

“I would have to resign [as senator] because the term [of an ICJ judge] will begin by about the first week of January and I would miss about one year of my term. So if that happens, I hope that the electorate will forgive me,” Santiago told reporters here at a reception for her candidacy on Thursday.

“If I don’t make it, then I’ll probably run for president of the Philippines. That is just to put terror in the heart of my enemies,” she said.

This reason for running for public office ranks next to Chavit Singson's "I am running for the Senate so that Jinggoy Estrada will have a sparring partner!" or something to that effect.

Brave and loud words which later got muffled by his resounding defeat in the 2007 polls.

When Miriam Defensor Santiago ran for President in 1992, I was one of the many college students that rallied behind her. We believed that she could succeed where the Aquino Administration had failed and that was in the continuing fight against corruption in government. She ran and lost, she screamed that she had been cheated by President Ramos and we believed

The college kids that supported her candidacy moved on, the overriding concern on our minds at that time was getting a job -- which meant minimum wage, even for college graduates. Two or three years later, during President Fidel Ramos' term, I became an Associate Producer and Scriptwriter for Radio Television Malacanang (RTVM) which is an agency under the Office of the Press Secretary. I still saw her on TV and read about her in the newspapers, usually spitting bile at Ramos. It was the constant exposure to this that somehow made me forget the reasons why I voted for her in 1992.

Sixteen years later, during turnover ceremonies for medical equipment in UP PGH, I head her speak again and it reminded me of at least one reason why I voted for her.

She railed against the TV Ads being run by would-be Presidential contenders. While most media organizations focused on the part of her speech where she called the Senator endorses 'ugly', my mind fixed on her challenge to would be presidential candidates to just hold an auction for the country's presidency. This was an obvious jibe at Senate President Manny Villar and possibly Senator Mar Roxas -- billionaires, one on his own account and the other, owing it to his family's fortune.

It's the thought that the Presidential candidate with the most resources will win the Presidency that really gets to me. Will the 2010 elections proved that Manny (as in Villar) and Manny (as in Roxas) can buy everything?

If the 2010 elections were about interviewing job applicants for the highest office in the land, shouldn't we at least look at their records and the policies they are pursuing to get an indication of how they would fare as Presidents of the country -- as the highest, most powerful leader of this country?

So far, in my view, Villar and Roxas are of the same feather. Politically, they have swung wildly from being anti-Gloria to pro-Gloria to anti-Gloria several times over.

As House Speaker, Villar banged the gavel on President Joseph Estrada to impeach him and nearly ten years later, he was seen in Bataan with Estrada after the latter's conviction for plunder by the Sandiganbayan.

Roxas came into the limelight, not as congressman of Capiz, but as DTI Secretary of Joseph Estrada. When the Estrada fell from power, he came back as DTI Secretary of Gloria Arroyo and in 2004, ran in Gloria's line up of Senators. Then, years later, declared he was now with the opposition and was running for President. He'll probably point to the Hello Garci incident as a turning point for deciding to be an opposition candidate.

In fact, almost all presidential contenders in the 2010 race will be either opposition or independent with the exception perhaps of Bayani Fernando (as Vice President Noli De Castro, having won the Presidency as an independent candidate, will probably not yield easily to be part of a party of which he is not its leader).

But what do these Presidential candidates have to offer the people?
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