Aquino flatlined in 2020, says close pal Almendras
MANILA, Philippines — The brush of death appeared to have touched former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino as early as September 2020 when he became very sick.
Former Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, a close friend and Ateneo classmate of Aquino’s, said during the memorial on Friday that the late leader actually flatlined for a few seconds during a minor medical procedure last year.
It was also the reason why close allies and friends who were privy to Aquino’s deteriorating health were worried about a mere angiogram.
“Nag-usap po kami ni PNoy a few days before that, at sabi na namin, itutuloy na natin ‘yong angiogram, at kung may mahanap, diretso na tayo ng angioplasty, at kung hindi kaya, diretso tayong bypass. The next day po, medyo kinakabahan ako […] bakit po kami takot na takot sa angiogram na ‘yon?” Almendras asked.
“Because over a year ago, sometime towards the end of September, there was a procedure na not as critical as the angiogram, minor po, sampling ng sa likod po. Mr. President I’m sorry, sasabihin ko po, no’ng binibigyan po siya ng anesthesia, nag-flat line po ang presidente for a few seconds,” he added.
According to Almendras, he and other close friends and relatives were instructed by Aquino to keep mum on the details of his health, as he did not want people to pity him or think that it was a stunt for people to treat him differently.
As a result, several other allies who did not know Aquino’s condition vented their ire on Almendras.
He also noted that they were not sure what ailment was actually causing the former president’s failing condition.
“Nagkagulo po kami, hindi po namin alam kung ano ang gagawin, buti na lang po na-revive ang pangulo. Kaya po tonight, hihingi po ako ng paumanhin sa lahat ng kaibigan, sa lahat ng kamag-anak, na galit sa aming mga kaibigan at sa mga magkakapatid at pamilya, kung bakit hindi namin ikinwento na meron na palang sakit ang pangulo,” Almendras said.
“Sa hospital po kahapon, habang umiiyak ako, ang mga text na natatanggap ko, inaaway po ako ng mga tao. ‘Bakit hindi niyo sinabi sana naka-bisita kami, sana naka-regalo kami, sana nakapunta kami?’ Hindi ko po pwedeng sabihin, hindi po pwedeng sabihin ng magkakapatid dahil sabi niya, walang sasabihan, hindi pwedeng i-kalat, dahil siya po ay napaka-pribadong tao,” he added.
Even when he was the sitting President, critics and media have always scrutinized Aquino’s health as he was known for being a chain smoker, with a penchant for drinking his favorite soda and having his steaks.
Aquino’s spokesperson Abigail Valte downplayed the issue, saying that the leader was then only down with flu. Later that year, talks about Aquino being brought to a hospital unconscious while being set to go through a heart procedure also went viral on social media.
Valte answered by saying that she was able to talk with the former president, who joked that he is only “heartbroken”.
Almendras said that Aquino specifically told him that people would be only forced to visit him if they reveal his condition.
“Pre, mapipilitan lang silang pumunta at bumisita, eh wala na naman tayong magagawa pa. Kaya ho sa aking mga kasamahan sa gabinete, alam ko po merong mga masama ang loob, bakit hindi namin sinabi ang totoo, sorry po, takot po ako sa pangulo, alam niyo naman po ‘yon,” Almendras said.
“Totoo po, mahigit isang taon, halos dalawang taon na po mula no’ng nalaman na may sakit siya. Wala rin po kaming pwedeng ipaliwanag sa inyo kasi hindi po namin alam ang lahat ng karamdaman niya, marami po kaming binabantayan, marami kaming pinag-aaralan, tinetestingan na mga doktor,” he added.
On Thursday afternoon, Aquino’s other sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada confirmed that the former president died peacefully in his sleep, before being rushed to the Capitol Medical Center.
Aquino-Abellada said that the death certificate pronounced Noynoy dead at 6:30 a.m. due to renal disease, secondary to diabetes.
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