2016 positioning premature - Miriam

by Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 09 2014 11:37 AM | Updated as of Mar 09 2014 07:37 PM

MANILA - Politicians coming out as candidates for the 2016 presidential elections are acting way too early, according to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Santiago expressed her opinion that it is still premature to be talking about and preparing for the 2016 elections.

“I think it’s premature. You cannot tell, life is full of surprises. 2016 is so far away,” she said about the early announcements of some public officials of their desire to run for the presidency two years from now.

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano have expressed their intention to run for president in 2016.

Binay was more categorical than Cayetano in declaring his intention to seek the presidency.

Buoyed by his high ratings in the surveys, Binay announced early on his plan to run for president in 2016.

Cayetano, on the other hand, recently stated his ambition to become president of the country one day.

He did not say if it would be in 2016 but this early, Cayetano said he has initiated some moves meant to support his possible bid in 2016.

Cayetano has hired a former ad man who has served as image consultant to a former presidential candidate and has also commissioned surveys to see where he stands against his possible rivals.

Santiago said too many things could happen between now and 2016 that could change the entire political landscape of the country.
She cited the devastating Typhoon Yolanda that hit the country last year and the pork barrel scam as examples of some unforeseen events that could have a great impact on the decision-making process of voters.

“We don’t know what impacts, what crises will impact the Filipino voter. Look at Super Typhoon Yolanda, the pork barrel scam for another example, we never realized it would fall on us like this,” she said.

In the pork barrel scam for instance, Santiago said the actions of the ombudsman on the legislators accused of plunder would play a significant role on how Filipinos would vote in the coming elections.

Santiago said any politician charged with plunder by the ombudsman in the pork barrel scam issue should no longer be voted.

She also said the same thing about the legislators and other politicians who have deliberately refrained from making any comments or opinions about the pork barrel scam.

“There are some senators like me who are very vocal. There are senators who do not attend (the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings) as if they don’t care. In their speeches, they do not talk about the issue, they pretend they do not exist,” Santiago said, referring to her colleagues in the Senate.

“They are like ostriches who hide their heads while everything is flying around. Because if those accused right now emerge triumphant then maybe they could still be friends. They are not ready to face any risk. That is opportunist, not leadership, and I call them cowards to their face,” she added.