By Ellson Quismorio | Manila Bulletin
The late senator, Miriam Defensor-Santiago saw qualities in her one-time Senate colleague Bongbong Marcos that would make for a fine presidential candidate.
This was revealed by Santiago’s brother, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Benjamin Defensor, in a statement sent reporters on Friday, March 11.
Defensor recalled that his sister Santiago used to stress that a presidential aspirant should be “intelligent, competent, hardworking, kind, and should have a big heart and a pure intention for Filipinos”.
The retired general said that his sister held Marcos in high regard, and described him as “bukod sa matalino, magaling at masipag sa trabaho, mabait ito at may mabuting puso para sa mamamayang Pilipino”–exactly the qualities that she was looking for in a Philippine leader.
Marcos, who ended his Senate term in 2016, was actually Santiago’s running mate when the latter vied for the presidency in May of that year.
Now, he is the standard-bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and the current survey frontrunner for the Palace seat.
“Kaya nga hindi namin puwedeng iwan si Marcos kasi hindi niya iniwan si Senator Miriam noong may sakit ang ate (We can never abandon Marcos because he never abandoned Senator Miriam when she was sick),” Defensor said.
Defensor also said that while he is barred by law, as a government official, to publicly endorse a candidate in the May 2022 polls, he has the right to express in public the qualities and qualifications he requires for a bet.
Defensor, an appointee of President Duterte, is vice-chairman of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC).
What sets Marcos apart from the other May 2022 presidential candidates, according to Defensor, is that the former carries on his sister’s advocacies.
Santiago died at the age of 71 from complications of cancer on September 29, 2016.