Press Release
December 14, 2015


Riding on back-to-back wins in campus surveys, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Monday faced some 1,000 students and urged them to use three criteria in choosing a president in 2016: academic excellence, professional achievement, and sincerity.

"Leadership is not about personality; it's about behavior--an observable set of skills and abilities. Leaders are not born; it takes practice to develop the qualities of a leader," Santiago said in her speech before students of the Rizal Technological University (RTU) in Pasig City.

UST students' choice

Her statement comes as she topped a survey at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) from October 26 to December 10, with 66 percent of the 1,366 respondents saying that they would vote Santiago president if elections were held on the day they were asked.

No other candidate won two-digit scores in the polling conducted by the UST's official student publication, The Varsitarian. Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas got 8 percent; Sen. Grace Poe, 5 percent; and Vice President Jejomar Binay, 3 percent. Some 17 percent of respondents were undecided.

The UST survey is the third campus poll conducted and published after the filing of certificates of candidacy. The two others were from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Santiago led all three polls.

Criteria for president

At RTU, the senator reminded students that amid corruption, poverty, and external threats, they have a responsibility to "contribute to the protection of national welfare and territorial integrity," a duty emphasized by the electoral process.

"We can fulfill such duty either by responsibly voting for patriotic leaders, who have our national interest in mind, and voting out those who have betrayed our national interest, or/and directly participating in the policy-making realm, whether as elected officials, career bureaucrats, advisers, among others," Santiago said.

The results of the three campus surveys, she said, show that students are becoming more critical in choosing their president. "It appears that they give weight to my criteria for leaders: academic excellence, professional achievement, and sincerity," Santiago said.

Among the candidates, Santiago has the most number of degrees, including a doctor of juridical science degree from the University of Michigan. She is also the only candidate with experience in all three branches of government--executive, legislative, and the judiciary.

Santiago said sincerity is the most difficult to test among the criteria for president, but added that leaders who are sincere must also be "trustworthy, honest, and able to consistently follow-through on their promises."

"You are never too young to make a difference and to participate in the political affairs of our country.... You will be inheriting this country along with its problems. Before these problems can get any worse, be concerned, do something about them," Santiago told students.

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