Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The fighting spirit of Miriam Defensor Santiago for 2016

A beaming Sen, Miriam Santiago before her supporters at the UP Bahay Alumni,

It was a brief meet-and-greet session with her supporters at the UP Bahay ng Alumni yesterday (26 October 2015). Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago who is running for the presidency of the republic in 2016  spoke no more than five minutes. It was, nevertheless, a vibrant evening: the audience had a spirited repartee with their favorite candidate.

Earlier in the day, we watched the working team set up the audio-video on the senator, and took pictures of the screen images like those on her education. We presumed this would be used to introduce her during the evening program.  

Her images as iskolar ng bayan reminded as that she was in the college of law in the UP Diliman at the same time we were struggling with our subjects in the nearby college of engineering.  These were the years when the studentry started to feel the winds of the coming First Quarter Storm.  We read her editorials in the student weekly Philippine Collegian: she was the first female editor-in-chief of the paper. We saw her as Corps Sponsor of the UP ROTC twice; also as a councilor and then vice-chair of the UP Student Council during that period.

The education of Miriam Defensor Santiago

The other images gave highlights of her outstanding public service: posts she handled in key government agencies.  She was 43 years old when she received the 1988 Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of "her bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency [Bureau of Immigration and Deportation]." 

When she arrived, she sat at the middle of the platform with the spotlight on her and the master of ceremonies read her credentials instead of showing the video presentation.

Red was the color of the evening. The red flag, so to speak, was up to stop graft and corruption (walang katapusang pagnanakaw sa ating pera, as she put it).

"Allow me to introduce myself," she said after thanking those who came. "I am the person who is seeking for public office next year."  Because of this, one netizen posted an urgent wish that she should die before six years. "It's up to you," she told the audience, "whether to accommodate the macabre wishes of that person."

Is she healthy for the campaign and the presidency if she wins? She told the audience: "I have passed through the hardest of all the physical trepidations and hardships known to man.  Cancer is not an easy disease to have and still thereafter. I decided after consultation with my panel of doctors from St Luke's hospital that it should be up to me to decide on whether or not I should campaign for president again."

At this point the lively repartee between her and her supporters began:

She said, "My answer is this. Do you want a clean government?"  The shout-out response: "Yes!"

"Do you want a courageous government?"  Audience: "Yes!"

"Do you want a government of, by and for academic excellence?"  Audience: "Yes!"

"If that is the case, do you want me to ..?", which was interrupted by "We want, we want!"

"Alam mo, napansin ko sa Senado, hindi naman pala mahirap na  ipunin ang pera ng gobyerno  Ang problema lang sa atin sa bansa nating ito ay una, ang nagsasalita, iyon din ang magnanakaw. Pangalawa, pag nagsasalita sila, kunwari laban sila sa graft and corruption, maling-mali pa ang Ingles nila. At pangatlo, ninanakaw nila ang pera ng gobyerno para pag nakuha nila lahat ang pera, ibibili nila ulit ng boto ng taong bayan at sa ganung paraan wala ng katapusan ang pagnakaw sa ating pera. This must stop."

Shouts from the audience: "We love you!"

"Kaya subukan at subukan ko pa rin ang lahat ng magagawa ko itong tumatanda na ko."

Voice from the audience: "Kasama mo kami!"

Santiago: "Kasama mo ako? Hindi mo lang alam ang ugali ko!"  Loud cheers from the audience. 

Selfie time of supporters with their idol!

"Basta ako, i-sige ko at i-sige itong ating  laban sa ating bansa. Nag-iskwela  ako sa Amerika, Nag-iskwela ako sa England. Kung saan saan ako nag-iskweal. Hindi ako tatanggap na matatalo ako ng anupang bansa Tayo ang magaling. Filipinos, believe in yourself. Have faith in the Filipino. For, as poetry says, It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

She ended her brief speech with: "Come and join me, and thank you very much for becoming the captain of your soul."

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