President Benigno Aquino 3rd is in “good health” despite coughing fits during his public appearances, Malacañang said on Friday.
Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President was fit to work and has regular check-ups.
“The President consults his personal physicians on a very regular basis. And I was told by one of them that ‘Yes he maintains, generally, good health,’” Valte added.
The spokesperson did not give further details on the check-ups.
“I myself do not have those details owing to the fact that we respect the patient-doctor privilege that we recognize,” she said.
The coughing sometimes interrupts the President in the middle of a speech, and he has to take a sip from a glass of water.
Last year, he had to take a three-day sick leave, and Health Secretary Enrique Ona recommended that he give up smoking to improve his health.
The President, however, insists that he needs to light up to calm his nerves.
His father, Benigno Aquino Jr., had a heart attack at the age of 47 while being held as a political prisoner during the Marcos years. Aquino’s mother, former President Corazon Aquino, died of colon cancer at age 76 in 2009.
Valte said whenever the 54-year-old President feels sick, he immediately consults his doctor.
“He mentions sometimes that he tends to have some stomach pain,” she added.
Last year, Aquino’s allergic reaction to pollen from flowers sidelined him for days.
Valte said Aquino’s staff always make sure that the President is kept away from things that could trigger an allergic reaction.
Making public the presidential state of health is mandatory under Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the public must be informed if a President becomes too ill.
Valte said if there is a problem with the President’s health, the public will be told.
“We always inform the people if the President is unwell. Like if he has to take a day off because he has [a]flu, we do inform the public because we’re aware that it’s one of the things that we have to do,” she added.
At the same time, the President is also entitled “to that privilege of having his medical information and his medical records kept confidential unless he gives permission to divulge [them],” Valte said.