TIAONG, Quezon: PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday was firing on all cylinders as he made his first public appearance since rumors spread over the weekend that he had collapsed and was critically ill.
Speaking to reporters during a briefing about the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 project in Tiaong, Quezon, a combative Aquino accused his political rivals and critics of spreading rumors about his health. He also dismissed claims that the administration was even behind it to gain public sympathy amid the backlash over the Mamasapano incident.
“[I’m sure you have heard of the rumors that spread Friday midnight, entering Saturday. [The rumors] said I collapsed in Malacañang, that I have a serious illness, while others said I was in the ICU [intensive care unit]. When they saw me Saturday night with no health problems, a new rumor came out, that it was us spreading the rumors to get the public’s sympathy],” the President said in Filipino.
“[To those who believe this, listen to the wise words from the elderly: We gain nothing from gossips. Indeed our determined critics will find fault in everything we do],” he added.
The President said he suspects that these were parts of efforts to weaken his endorsement power in 2016.
“[I] asked myself: They already know I won’t run next year, then why do they keep criticizing me [as you and I make our way to]the polling precincts next year, which made me suspect that these gossips were deliberate. I’m appalled [at]what our rivals have been doing. Why did they go this far?” he asked.
The President, however, promised that he will continue pushing for reforms in his remaining 465 days in office despite critics taking every opportunity to put themselves above what is good for the country.