Santiago resumes campaign after long break

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Iloilo City (CNN Philippines) — After almost six weeks off from the campaign scene, presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago returns.

Although the senator looked like she has lost weight, she said she is feeling better, and that the anti-cancer pill she is taking works.

It's a homecoming for Santiago. She graduated from University of the Philippines Visayas as magna cum laude. Students and supporters cheered for her when she delivered her usual pickup lines.

During her speech, Santiago briefly mentioned her battle with stage four lung cancer and joked that she told God she was ready to go, but He was not ready.

Speaking in both Ilongo and English, Santiago said: "Ako nabalan nalaman na may stage four lung cancer. So I said God, I have given my whole life but He was never ready."

Also read: Santiago refuses to make medical records public

She also spoke about her platform of lowering income tax, continuing to support the Conditional Cash Transfer program and creating more jobs.

Among the presidential contenders though, who have taken turns on the top spot, Santiago has consistently placed at the bottom of several presidential race surveys.

“I don’t trust the surveys because I know from first-hand experience they provide a list of presidential candidates and I’m not even there. So how can I even be voted for,” Santiago said.

Also read: Santiago takes swipe at rival presidential candidates

Her running mate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was also with her — only the third time the tandem has campaigned together since the start of the campaign period.

It’s not a warm welcome for Marcos, however, as the anti-Marcos group Campaign Against the Return of Marcoses to Malacañang (CARRMA) protested outside the gates of the campus.

Some of the protesters heckled him when he arrived, shouting their dislike for the senator. But the crowd cheered for him during his speech.

Iloilo is the ninth most vote-rich province and is the Liberal Party’s (LP) bailiwick.

In the 2010 elections, Aquino and Roxas received the most votes for president and vice president, respectively. But Santiago garnered the most votes for senatorial candidates, with more than 540,000 votes.

Also read: Despite absence, Santiago makes presence felt through social media