Despite speculations about her health, presidential candidate and senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago faced her supporters with vigor and laughter on Valentine's Day, February 14.
She began, “Allow me to introduce myself.
“I am Miram Defensor-Santiago and I am running for president.
“Now, will you say yes to me?”
Since it was a gathering of her young supporters, Miriam opened her speech with her famous pick-up lines, fit for Valentine's Day and a few ones “dedicated” to her presidential rivals.
Without naming names, Senator Miriam made the crowd guess who among Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte, and Jejomar Binay she was referring to.
“Para sa isang kandidato, may mapa ka ba? Hindi ko kasi makita ang tuwid na daan... papunta sa puso mo.
“Isa pang kandidato, puwede ka ba makatabi sa EDSA? Kasi kapag katabi kita, perfect na ako.
“Isa pang kandidato, inismol ka ba nila? That's okay. Iniibig naman kita.
“Isa pang kanidato, sa 'yo na ang PhilHealth, SSS [Social Security System, at GSIS mo. Basta sa akin ang pag-ibig mo,” Senator Miriam quipped, much to the delight of the crowd.
BOXING CHALLENGE TO DETRACTOR. She also issued a challenge to an unnamed detractor, “At kung meron sasabotahe ng kampanya ko that play fair but resulting to black propaganda.
“Iyang taong 'yan, although hindi niya aaminin, hinahamon ko, suntukan kami.”
At one point, the feisty lady senator took a swipe against her arch-enemy Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
She said, “Itong ating mga pulitiko, lalo na yung nagnanakaw ng pork barrel, kapag nagsalita akala mo alam nila mga sinasabi nila. Mga ulyanin!
“Hindi ko maintindihan bakit dalawa ang nakulong, ang isa nakulong tapos pinalabas!
“Anong gumagana diyan?”
It can be recalled that Senator Enrile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, and Senator Bong Revilla got detained in 2014 for allegedly plundering their respective Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or more commonly known as pork barrel.
But Senator Enrile was eventually released after the Supreme Court granted his petition for bail August last year.
NO TO CORRUPTION. On a more serious note, Senator Miriam asked her supporters to stay vigilant against corrupt leaders.
She firmly stated, “Ito ang iba kong mungkahi para masugpo ang korupsyon sa gobyerno.
“Una, follow the money.
“Bantayan mo, kung may pera 'yan, malamang may corruption 'yan.”
Senator Miriam also challenged the youth to make a citizen report on the country's leaders.
“Yung mga pinamimigay na kunwa-kunwari libre sa ating constitution—grade school, high school, and even college.
“Bilangin mo kasi malaking pera 'yan. Pinagdi-distribute sa ating mga state universities.”
In the latter part of her speech, Senator Miriam further stated, “It is not merely time for reform.
“It is not merely time for change. It is a time for conscience in government.”
Ironically, Senator Miriam's critics have questioned her decision to support vice presidential candidate Senator Bongbong Marcos, whose father was the late dictator and president Ferdinand Marcos.
To which, Senator Miriam fired back in a presidential forum last October, “There has been no allegation about him [Senator Bongbong] being the one who personally committed crimes against his fellow Filipinos so I have no basis for condemning him.
“What about the father?
“Then we are going against the Bible that says: ‘The sins of the father should not be visited upon the children’ and I am a church-going Catholic."