Press Release
January 17, 2013


Two doctors have strongly advised Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago "to disengage from politics," meaning that she should not report to the Senate this coming Monday, and that she should be "insulated from political news" for the time being.

The doctors warned that Santiago is risking a second stroke because of her current word war against the tandem of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Panfilo Lacson over the use of Senate savings as Christmas gifts.

Santiago's cardiologist, Dr. Esperanza Cabral, former Heart Center director and former health secretary, learned yesterday (Thursday) that Santiago upon waking, had a blood pressure of 184/100.

"If Sen. Santiago reports to the Senate on Monday, she might have a sudden rise in blood pressure and suffer either a stroke or a heart attack. She already had a mild stroke some ten years ago," Cabral said.

Cabral recalled that Santiago's two younger brothers died separately because of heart attacks in their sleep.

"With that kind of medical history, Sen. Santiago will be placing herself in harm's way if she continues her battle against her fellow senators. I have told her that her political enemies might be dancing on her grave if she continues to fight them singlehandedly," Cabral said.

In another development, Santiago's ophthalmologist, Dr. Rodolfo Chuanico of East Avenue Medical Center, said that Santiago's blood clot in the eye is already a warning that another abrupt rise in blood pressure might cause a stroke.

After eye examination yesterday (Thursday), Chuanico said: "Technically, Sen. Santiago suffered a mild stroke after her TV interview. Fortunately, the stroke went to her eye instead of her brain. If she continues as usual, a second stroke will be imminent," Chuanico said.

Chuanico also said that he counseled Santiago to avoid provocation that might incite her to anger, because she needs to be healthy, in case the International Criminal Court calls her for duty this March.

Santiago's spokesperson Tom Tolibas, said that following her doctors' advice, Santiago will no longer be available for media interviews starting yesterday, to continue indefinitely until her blood pressure stabilizes.

Santiago herself told the Senate media that she will "consider seriously the advise" of her doctors.

"Dr. Cabral pulled me out of my first stroke. I was temporarily paralyzed, but I got over it. She is one of the most respected cardiologists in our country. I have to follow her instructions," Santiago said.

Santiago said of Dr. Chuanico: "He was waiting for me at the entrance of the hospital. He put his arm on my shoulder and told me that as a very concerned father substitute, he wants me to ignore and forgive my enemies. I tried to smile," Santiago said.

The doctors' comments were reported by Elsie Gayo, a registered nurse, who accompanies Santiago on hospital visits and coordinates with her doctors.

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