Miriam: not your ordinary cancer victim

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Thursday, July 3, 2014


“I’m very excited. I’m not kidding...Because now I’m entering another dimension of human life.”
--Sen. Miriam Santiago

HOW many people struck with advanced cancer could accept and not deny or fear it, kid like a late-night-show comic, blast enemies, vow to fight the disease and hint about running again for president?

Not in recent memory, in public spotlight, from a national public figure.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago called a press-con Wednesday and reporters flocked, thinking the quick-tempered, feisty and acidly humorous senator would've something big and interesting to tell.

And she had.

Miriam, 69, said she's the only senator who has cancer, in the left lung, stage 4.

Did she fume and ask God why pick on His greatest gift to Filipinos (according to fans' estimate, which she doesn't dispute) and how, when she didn't smoke, drink or commit adultery? Did she rage against "mighty, dreaded" death?

No, she told the journalists.

We don't know what she thinks about in the wee small hours of the morning, sleepless on bed, as she realizes she could "croak" ahead of her No.

1 enemy, 90-year-old Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, and might no longer bully Senate witnesses with barbs and dazzle college students with pickup lines.

If she put on her usual public face, it must be with some effort though it looked effortless.

Hope, bravado

You admire abundance of hope though you may question bravado: at stage 4, doctors say, cancer may have started to spread into surrounding tissues and lymph nodes.

Still she shone, her nutty-sounding antics and all. Maybe her enemies might even join prayers she'd survive this one.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.

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