Is Miriam Defensor Santiago your president? Make sure you already know everything you need to know about her before putting in that precious vote on the 9th of May.
Miriam Defensor Santiago is a well-decorated lady of the law, named the Laureate of the Asian Nobel Prize at 43, deemed one of The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, and receiving several honors from various esteemed organizations in the country. She is also notable for having served in all three branches of the government. A legal prodigy, she became special assistant to the Secretary of Justice at 25, served for 10 years in the United Nations’ justice department, and was appointed the youngest judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. In 1988, her career in the executive branch started and blossomed when she was appointed the Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation, the job that drew international attention to her as she filled immigration detention centers with foreign offenders, criminals, and even operatives from the notorious Yakuza.
After losing to Fidel V. Ramos in the 1992 presidential elections—a loss that compelled Santiago to file a protest before the Supreme Court on grounds of electoral fraud caused by the nationwide strings of power outages—she built her reputation in the Senate by filing an astounding number of 1,324 bills and resolutions (which should have earned her a spot on the Guinness, at least!). Some of her most famous bills are the Anti-Signage of Public Works Act, more commonly referred to as the Anti-Epal Bill, the Anti-Political Dynasty Act of 2005, and the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, which contains provisions on civil and political rights governing the cyberspace.
In 2014, Santiago was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and this very diagnosis has been the main criticism against her. Even though she has been cleared by doctors as stable, as of this writing, she is still undergoing treatment.
As notable as Santiago’s accomplishments is her sense of humor. Having written some 30 books, mostly on law and the social sciences, her more recent one, Stupid is Forever, a collection of her jokes and pick-up lines, has gained massive support from the masses, selling 110,000 copies in one month.
Read the profiles of the five presidentiables and the full Q&A with them inside Asian Dragon Magazine’s April-May 2016 issue, available in all leading bookstores and convenience stores nationwide. You can also purchase the issue from the Asian Dragon Magazine App, free to download on Google Play Store, iTunes, and Amazon. For orders and other inquiries, contact tel. nos. 361-7491 loc. 811, 845, 846.