MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday endorsed businessman Manuel “Manny” Pangilinan to be the next president of the country as she urged the public not to vote for celebrities.
In her speech during a leadership talk for Maynilad which is headed by Pangilinan, Santiago said the problem with democracy is that there are more poor people than rich ones and it is the poor people who decide who the leader will be.
“We must educate the Filipino public. What is it you want for the Philippines in 2016? Bakit pa maghahalalan kung walang improvement? I want you to think Mr. Manny Pangilinan for president of the Republic of the Philippines,” she said.
Pangilinan, chairman of the board of Maynilad, was in the audience when the senator mentioned his name.
Asked during the press conference following her speech if her statement was an endorsement of Pangilinan, Santiago said, “Yes it is.”
“It is people like him who should be elected to positions of leadership. It should not be people from highly publicized careers because their careers, where they are the leading celebrities, might blind them to the fact that their qualifications are sufficient for the job,” she said.
The senator said she is particularly talking about people from mass media, films, and television.
“My qualifications are: No. 1, the person should be honest but that is the most difficult qualification to determine because there is no guaranteed test for honesty in public service. Second is professional excellence, and the third is academic excellence,” she added.
Santiago also expressed hope that the Constitution will be amended before the 2016 elections to change the qualification for public office and require at least a college degree from candidates.
“Right now a person can run for President without graduating even from high school. But you cannot become a policeman unless you have a college degree, so we have to reconcile this,” she said. (MNS)