PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago criticized the candidates who resort to vote-buying and the political parties in the country for “not committing to any national policy” as these “distort” the country’s electoral process.
Speaking before the Thomasian crowd four days before the elections, Santiago called on the youth to reject vote-buying and to perform their duty of ensuring the country’s fate for the next six years.
“Admonish them (people) to vote not only for themselves but also for their children and grandchildren. It is a duty today to think about tomorrow, it is our duty to decide this country’s fate. Tayo ang may hawak ng kapangyarihan, bakit natin ibebenta sa kanila?” she said.
While the ruling administration party failed to deliver some of its promises, Santiago said it cannot be solely held accountable because “there [is] no real political party.”
Political parties in the Philippines, according to Santiago, are “merely groups of self-interested individuals” who pull their resources to attract political contributors but do not commit themselves to any national policy.
“This is why the Philippine presidency is at present, a weak institution. Kaya napaka-insecure ng mga presidente natin eh, kaagad silang gaganti pag mayroong gumawa [ng aksiyon] laban sa kanila. Kasi alam nila na they have no real powers,” she said.
The lady senator also blasted her rivals, calling them “intellectually bankrupt” for presenting the same solutions to the country’s problems every election.
“Itong mga pangakong ito paulit-ulit eh, nakakasawa! Every six years wala tayong ginagawang progreso dahil pareparehas lang ang pinapangako ng mga presidential campaign,” Santiago added.
She also questioned the funding for some candidates’ campaign ads on television. “’Yang perang ginastos niya, isip niya capital ‘yon. Kaya pagkaluklok niya sa panunungkulan, ang unang unang gagawin niya ay magnanakaw siya ulit para mabawi niya.”
Santiago urged the Thomasian community to not let their patron saint down.
“That’s why I ask UST students: You are witness to St. Thomas Aquinas [and] what miracles of the intellect he accomplished. Do not let him down, sulong mga [estudyante ng] Santo Tomas!” she said.
The forum was the second and last installment of the presidential and vice presidential forum series organized by the Thomasian-initiated voter’s education campaign Aktiboto. F CHRISTIAN DE LANO M. DEIPARINE