Legalize medical marijuana? 'No, but let's talk' – Santiago

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Sunday, April 24, said she is not for legalizing medical marijuana in the Philippines, but she's open to talking about it.

"That is a sliding slope," Santiago said during the Fast Talk segment of the last Comelec-organized presidential debate on Sunday held at the PHINMA University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City. (READ: Plans and promises: Presidential bets on health)

"I'd have to say no but [I'm] open to convincing me it can be effectively implemented only for those who are competent for it," the senator added. (READ: When medicines fail, marijuana is moms' last hope)

Santiago, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2014, said she has "never" thought of using medical marijuana. Advocates pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana in the country believe it has beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating illnesses. 

Months after her announcement, however, Santiago revealed she has already licked lung cancer. She announced her bid for the presidency more than a year after. (READ: PH doctors say no to medical marijuana bill)

A bill on legalizing medical marijuana in the Philippines filed in 2014 remains pending in the House of Representatives' committee on health. –

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.