Manila: A senior cabinet member and an opposition lawmaker have advised Philippines President Benigno Aquino, a chain smoker, to take a vacation and undergo an executive check-up after he cancelled several events due to ill health.
Aquino should take a rest to recover from the bout of flu he contracted when he went to Cambodia to attend a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.
Seconding Ona’s advice, Congressman Rodolfo Albano, minority member of the House of Representatives, said: “While we surmise fatigue may have triggered the president’s recurring illness, we believe it is best for him to undergo an immediate executive check-up to determine the underlying cause of his condition and his state of health.”
Admitting that Aquino’s work and responsibility might have taken a toll on his health, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said: “There are many stressful things that create [health] problems.”
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda ruled out smoking as the cause of the president’s illness. “He has not had the two-day rest recommended by his physicians,” he said.
Aquino excused himself and left early during the gala dinner for Asean leaders in Cambodia last Monday.
He also cancelled a meeting with International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde on November 16 because he was feeling ill.
He also failed to complete the official dinner hosted for him by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in late October.
Aquino has been coughing and speaking in a hoarse voice during live TV interviews.
He has publicly admitted to being unable to quit smoking.