Press Release
October 4, 2006


Doctors expressed concern that Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who has been diagnosed with anorexia, continues to lose weight.

From 160 pounds in June, the senator is now down to 135 pounds, and her weight continues to fall, she said in response to questions from senate media. Her colleagues in Congress have also expressed concern over her health, often mistaking her illness for anorexia nervosa, which has proved fatal in many cases.

Santiago continues on sick leave from the Senate, but she attends sessions when her presence is indispensable.

For example, she delivered a sponsorship speech for her Anti-Billboard Blight Act, and recently presided at a committee hearing of the Commission on Appointments which saw the confirmation of 31 career diplomats.

Santiago said that her doctors, despite extensive laboratory tests, have been unable to locate the source of her sudden loss of appetite.

Her doctors are all internists and consist of: Dr. Esperanza Cabral, who specializes in cardiology; Dr. Agnes Mejia, who specializes in kidney; and Dr. Eulenia Nicolas, who specializes in gastrointestinal cases.

Santiago said that Pres. Arroyo has nominated her for the post of Rector of the United Nations University at Tokyo, and she has been shortlisted, but might not be able to attend the required interview in Geneva at the end of the month.

I specialize in international law, and would have wanted to return to the UN, where I served when I was younger. But it seems like I will be too weak to travel and to submit to an extensive interview by the end of the month. I have requested for a waiver, but will have to abide by the consequences. I am very distressed that I might have to give this rare job opportunity a miss, Santiago said.

The senator added that when the Congress break begins in October 14, she will likely fly for diagnosis to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles where her sister works as a doctor.

I feel like I am going, going, and will soon be gone. Just call me the vanishing senator, Santiago quipped.

She said that her anorexia which has caused her to lose 25 pounds in less than four months is rendering her physically weak and dizzy.

I have been so athletic in my life that my problem is not only medical, but also attitudinal. I am very frustrated that I cannot even work out in my own home gym, she said.

But Santiago typically is not giving up.

I can still hold a gun straight and I dare say that I can plug an enemy between the eyes. This is only a passing phase, she said.

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