After almost two months of absence in the campaign trail, the presidential and vice presidential tandem of Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. is back in fighting form with the lady senator firing at her rivals and telling the youth that “the past is different from the present”.
Santiago and Marcos appeared together today at the jampacked auditorium of the University of the Philippines Visayas in Iloilo City.
It was the first public appearance of Santiago after her speaking engagement at the Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela last March 4. She also missed the second round of presidential debates at the University of Philippines in Cebu last March as she had to undergo clinical trials for an anti-cancer pill.
In an ambush interview, Santiago said her “medicine seems to be working.”
Wearing a yellow embroidered lady barong and black skirt, Santiago appeared stronger and seemed to be back in her fighting form. Speaking mostly in Ilonggo, she dished out her famous pick-up lines to the delight of the crowd. She then fired back at her fellow presidential candidates calling them “nitwits” who she said did not even study at the University of the Philippines.
She also criticized the fact that even one of them had to bring notes to the second debate.
She also called Marcos her “palangga” when the latter helped fix her microphone while she was speaking. Obviously alluding to Marcos’ family history, Santiago said “lain ang nagligad na kaysa subong” or the past is different from the present to the roaring applause of the audience.
She then presented her platform of government in the areas of poverty reduction and employment generation.
Marcos, who was also met warmly by the student body, said he considers himself very lucky because he is married to an Ilongga in the person of lawyer Louise Araneta Marcos whose family hails from Bago City, Negros Occidental and his running mate is also a respectable and highly qualified Ilongga in the person of Santiago.
“Napakaswerte ko dahil hindi ko akalain na ang aking idol, mentor at pinaka-hahangaan kong tao at ang pinaka-qualified na tao na maging pangulo ay napili akong running mate. Isang napakalaking karangalan,” Marcos said.
In an earlier interview, Marcos said their appearance in Iloilo was Santiago’s way of returning the favor since he introduced her in his hometown of Ilocos Norte during their proclamation rally at the start of the campaign season.
Marcos also refused to recognize that Santiago, who is lagging behind the surveys, could be considered out of contention in the presidential race. “Don’t count her out. She might pull a surprise on election day,” Marcos said.