Palace denies rumor Aquino ‘collapsed’
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Saturday denied a rumor that President Benigno Aquino III “collapsed” Friday night.
At past midnight, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the following statement: “I have communicated with the President regarding the rumors circulating tonight that he collapsed, and he immediately responded to my text with – ‘No such thing.’”
The Secretary said he had “no idea” where the rumor came from.
“I was just getting texts and calls from reporters and believed it had to be addressed immediately. And after I inquired from the President, he responded with ‘No such thing.’ The response of the President quelled the rumor,” Lacierda told INQUIRER.net.
It was not clear how the rumor spread but some members of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) said they asked the Secretary about it after seeing a tweet by a fellow reporter. The reporter supposedly claimed that a source informed him that Aquino “collapsed.”
Lacierda’s statement, which was sent by e-mail, text and tweet, asked media to “disseminate the information accurately.”
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, over state-run radio on Saturday morning, said there was nothing wrong with the President’s health.
“I can assure you that the President’s health is in good condition according to his physician,” she said.
Valte also cautioned media and the public against spreading unverified information.
“Let’s just be careful about disseminating unverified information on social media, not just because it’s the President, but about other equally important things,” she said.
It is the first time that the embattled President, who is said to be a heavy smoker, was rumored to have suffered a serious health issue. In the past, he has suffered minor setbacks like cough and colds, prompting him to consult a doctor or to cancel an event.
The President’s health has always been a concern among Filipinos because of the possibility of political instability in the event of the chief executive’s death. The public has always demanded transparency on the said issue, especially after former President Ferdinand Marcos lied about his deteriorating health, which resulted in his absence from the public eye.
Article VII, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution states that the public should be informed if the President suffers from serious illness.
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