Be honest with your health status, bets told

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IF presidential candidates are really that committed to lead the Philippines and serve its people, they should also be honest enough in letting voters know their true state of health, a political analyst said on Sunday.

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Prof. Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), noted that although there is no law that requires presidential candidates to make public their health condition, there is nothing wrong if the presidential aspirants would be open to such.

“As a political issue, it is right to make the health condition of candidates an issue, like the poverty issue and others, but we cannot force them to reveal their true state of health because they [also]have rights,” he said.

Casiple added that the state of health of the candidates can be observed during the three-month campaign period when people can see for themselves whether the candidates can withstand the grueling physical activity of the campaign.

“Voters will not bet on a candidate who has a questionable health condition, and although candidates can hide their true state of health, it will be noticeable as the campaign proceeds,” he said.

Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe has expressed support for the proposal to have candidates present their health records to prove that they are physically capable of handling the stress that comes with occupying the highest post of the land.

Poe, the youngest among the five presidential contenders, admitted that she had a few kidney stones removed in the past and had undergone tonsillectomy when she was in grade school.

Other than those procedures, she said she has no other health issues.

“I am willing to submit a medical certificate from a physician that will reflect that I am physically fit to run for public office,” the senator added.

At the same time Poe said she is also open to having voluntary drug tests for all presidential and vice-presidential candidates which, according to her, should be given more attention.

Senate President Franklin Drilon also expressed support for calls for the 2016 candidates to disclose their medical and health records.

“In the spirit of transparency and in the best interest of our people, I support the call for the candidates to release their medical and health records,” said Drilon.

According to the Senate chief, candidates owe it to the voting public to fully disclose their physical capacity to fully perform the mandates they are seeking.

“We are electing a President who will lead us in the next six years. Without referring to anyone, we cannot afford to have a leader who will eventually be hospitalized because of poor health condition, which we have not been previously made aware of,” Drilon said.

 Jefferson Antiporda

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