MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago believes that the public shouldn't be too harsh on President Benigno Aquino III, saying he should be given the chance to adjust to his role as the country’s leader.
In an exclusive interview with Korina Sanchez that aired on ANC on Friday, Santiago said being an effective president cannot be achieved overnight.
“We shouldn’t be too harsh on him at least for the first three years. That’s a learning curve. You cannot just sit down there and once you are seated with the seal behind your back, you are automatically attuned to the culture in Malacañang and Malacañang is so byzantine,” said Santiago.
Although President’s Aquino’s popularity remains high, he has been criticized and accused of being a “9-to-5 president.”
But Santiago believes that the President must be allowed to take time off and “refresh himself” once in a while.
“I don’t blame him for his insistence that he should engage in his own pleasurable activities because they help to relax him. We cannot work under a tense president, the president must also be given time to refresh himself,” she said.
Santiago also sympathized with the President, saying he must be having a “terribly difficult time” in his second year in office.
“Sometimes, he has these statements that are blown up in the press. That comes with the territory,” she said.
Santiago, a staunch supporter of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, has also recently shown appreciation for President Aquino on his decision to certify the measure as urgent.
In a statement released Friday, Santiago called the President her “hero” and that she is “very enthused with him” because of his move.
"Other presidents shirked their duty, but President Aquino rose to meet the challenge, and he has slain the monster," the senator added.