SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago declared Tuesday she would run for President in the May 2016 elections.
At a book signing for her book Stupid is Forevermore, Santiago said she would file her certificate of candidacy sometime this week.
She added that her running mate had already declared his or her candidacy, but declined to say who this was. Those who have declared their intention to run for vice president but who do not have a presidential running mate yet are Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.
“If I become president some time in the very near future, this country will be much better than it was before,” said Santiago after the book signing, where her staff wore red t-shirts bearing the hashtag “#Miriam2016.”
“Today, this country suffers from the malaise of plunder. Plunder is when you look at a person and the person looks at you and you feel like eating each other up. It’s like cancer,” she added.
Santiago, who has been on medical leave from the Senate after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in July 2014, said the growth of the disease had been arrested after treatment.
After the book signing, she told reporters that she was sure to run unless she was “struck by another bout of cancer.”
“I will run because I’ve already gotten over my bout of the cancer and there’s nothing left to do. I think since I have served the government from the very beginning, I will end my career here,” she said.
Santiago has served in all three branches of the government, having served as a regional trial court judge, the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, the secretary of Agrarian Reform, and senator.
She ran for president in 1992, but lost to former President Fidel Ramos in a hotly contested race after a string of power outages during the tabulation of votes. Santiago filed a protest before the Supreme Court saying the outages were evidence of massive fraud, but her case was dismissed on a technicality.
In her Facebook account last week, Santiago hinted at a run for the presidency with this post: “I’m not going to be coy. Society leaders have have urged me to seek the presidency. I can rise to the occasion.”
She also uploaded to her Facebook account a video clip of her speech during her 1992 presidential election.
In June 2014, Santiago stepped down as an elected judge of the International Criminal Court because of her health at the time. She would have been the first Filipino and the first Asian from a developing country to sit in a tribunal that tries cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Her third term as senator ends on June 30, 2016. She was a senator from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2009. She was re-elected in 2010.