POSTSCRIPT / October 15, 2015 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Miriam-Bongbong duo a likely game-changer!

THE ENTRY of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago into the presidential derby is a game-changer – especially if she and Sen. Bongbong Marcos decide to attack and reform the rotten system together.

For so long have Filipinos suffered under a system ruled by corrupt and inept officials. Santiago and Marcos – if they agree to run in tandem on a common platform – have the motivation and the capacity to change all that.

What’s more, both senators have all the reasons to dedicate this phase of their political life to reforming and uniting the nation, and improving the quality of life of the masses. In moving in that direction, they will be credible.

As she prepared to file tomorrow her certificate of candidacy for president, Santiago repeated her assurance that she is in the pink of health. She has gotten over the cancer that for a while cast a shadow on her political career.

At a signing event for her new book “Stupid is Forevermore” at the National Book Store in Makati, Santiago said: “If I become president, the country will be much better than it was before.”

She ran for president in 1992, but lost to Fidel V. Ramos. This time, she may not be able to match the machinery and money of some of the big ones also running for president, but she beats them pound-for-pound intellectually and morally.

She said that she already had a vice presidential mate in mind, but declined to identify him. Clue: He has already filed his certificate of candidacy,

Our guess is it is Bongbong Marcos, although as we write this we have not seen any indication that he will be Santiago’s partner.

We have no line to Marcos, so we cannot ask what he thinks of running with Santiago. But we do not see any serious incompatibility. On the contrary, we see more reasons for them to run together for the May 2016 elections.

Marcos, 58, has been surprising people with his unexpected statements indicating his possibly being a political maverick of sorts.

Note his recent remark that if elected to the Executive department, he would oppose any government move to prosecute outgoing president Noynoy Aquino and members of his Cabinet for their official acts.

He said he wanted to stop the cycle of retribution and political vendetta that have resulted in disunity and hampered progress. This is contrary to the widespread presumption that once the opposition (non-Liberal Party) takes over Malacañang, it will file a slew of charges against Mr. Aquino et al.

Marcos has also taken a stiff stand against the dismembering of the Republic. This has been taken as a signal that the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law with his committee in the Senate has a dim chance of being approved in the current Congress.

■ Embarrassing death of Nobel laureate

NAKAHIHIYA! How do we explain to the world that Richard F. Heck, one of the three 2010 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, died in Quezon City last Saturday after being refused treatment at a hospital because he had no cash with him?

An American married to Filipina Socorro Nardo (who died in 2012), Heck had been sickly. The chemist from Springfield, Massachusetts, had been subsisting on a monthly pension of $2,500. But with no cash to pay old hospital bills, he was refused admission although he was an emergency case.

Rappler quoted Jane Rose Pido, one of the two personal nurses caring for Heck during the past year, as saying that the patient was rushed to a private hospital because of severe vomiting, but was turned away because of unpaid bills.

Pido was quoted by GMA News: “It was painful to see that the man was fighting for his life, but he was left to die, because he did not have money. How could it end up like that? We didn’t know which hospital to take him to, so much time was lost. He could have been revived.”

The patient was then taken to a government hospital where, Pido said, his “vital signs deteriorated rapidly, until he died.”

Heck had to go like countless poor Filipinos who are denied hospital care amid bigtime official corruption and an orgy of campaign overspending leading to the 2016 elections. Being denied medical care on account of poverty is not unusual in this nation ruled by thieves and leeches.

Heck shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010 with Japanese scientists Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki “for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis.”

Nobelprize.org says “The chemical tool (developed by the trio) has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals, for example carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself.”

Elsewhere it was said that their study has been “very useful in broad range of medical applications such as testing potential anti-cancer drugs, creating new antibiotics, and breakthrough in automated DNA sequencing, including industrial applications such as in technology used in making thinner computer screens.”

Feny Cosico, secretary general of AGHAM, noted that Heck and similarly situated poor patients are victims of “a profit-driven health care system and government neglect.”

She said “Heck had survived prostate cancer and had been taking maintenance for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and slight dementia. He has been in and out of the hospital for pneumonia since 2013 which sucked out all his remaining fortunes.”

According to AGHAM, “Patients confined in public hospitals shoulder 73 percent of the total cost of confinement, while only 27 percent is covered by PhilHealth. The average cost of confinement in a public health facility is 43 times larger than the minimum wage, while private facilities cost 66 times.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 15, 2015)

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