Philippines president Aquino in good health: Palace

Philippines president Aquino in good health: Palace

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III is fit to finish the last two years of his term, but his privilege to keep his medical record confidential should be respected, Malacañang said on Friday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President has had fits of cough and bouts with flu and colds, but otherwise he's healthy enough to attend to the day-to-day affairs of the State.

Mr. Aquino is fit to perform his duties between now and June 30, 2016, when he steps down from office, Valte said.

"You know, he runs around to all of these engagements, all of these meetings and I think yes, he is in good health enough to do that," she told a press briefing.

Valte said the President regularly consults his personal physicians, one of whom has declared that "Yes, he remains, generally, in good health.'"

But she said she could not provide details about this, citing the "patient-doctor privilege."

Responding to observations that Mr. Aquino would cough even in the middle of short speeches, Valte said his staff tried to make sure his visits to certain areas would not trigger his allergy.

But this could not happen all the time, she said.

In November 2012, Mr. Aquino skipped a meeting with then visiting International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde.

Malacañang then said that he had flu and allergic rhinitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose.

Valte, however, said there were no discussions yet on the possible release of President Aquino's medical report as done by the White House in the case of US President Barack Obama.

After all, she said that Malacañang had always briefed the media about his health especially during those times when he became ill.

"There are no discussions to that effect-to release a medical report. Well, you know, because while he is President, he is also entitled to that privilege of having his medical information and his medical records kept confidential unless he gives permission to divulge it," she said.

The Philippine Constitution, however, requires public disclosure of the state of the President's health, particularly if the illness is "serious."

Under Article VII, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution, "In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall not be denied access to the President during such illness."

In the case of Obama, the US president's doctor declared him in excellent health in a recent memorandum to the White House press secretary following inquiries from the press. Obama's previous health update came in October 2011.


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