By Bernadette Tamayo | Journal Online
Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is hoping that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, his running mate, will be able to join him soon on the campaign trail but said her health should come first.
He made the remark after Santiago announced that she would skip the scheduled second presidential debate tomorrow at the University of the Philippines Cebu because she had been “accepted as fit to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill.”
“We had planned to be together during the campaign. That was always the original plan. But I suppose her health issues have overtaken her and she has just to attend to that,” said Marcos.
”And I think that she would be able to overcome this new obstacle and she will be joining us in the campaign soon enough,” said Marcos in a chance interview on the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Cebu City.
Santiago said that she is “very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people.”
Marcos said that while he would prefer to campaign with Santiago, the trend of the current campaign seems to gear towards individual campaigning rather than as a party.
“The ideal is for us to campaign together. But I think the other factor is that this election is different and that most of the candidates are campaigning individually be they presidential, vice presidential or even senatorial candidates—most if not all are campaigning individually. So that seems to be the trend for this campaign, for this election,” he said.
Marcos also said that since the trend is individual campaigning, the candidate’s character, not so much party affiliation, will play a big role.
“I think because the dynamic here is that the voters are looking at individual candidates rather than party members and that the party machinery is no longer seen as a guide but merely as an over-arching organization for people to join in the campaign pero ang pananaw ng taong bayan ay bilang tao, so character is the issue here,” he said.