Palace says Aquino to fly to Asean summit despite flu


Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III. Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines—President Bengino Aquino is to depart as scheduled Saturday night to attend the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations In Cambodia even though he is still suffering from a bout with flu and allergic rhinitis, the Palace announced.

Palace sources said earlier there was a chance the President would not attend the summit because of his illness.

At around 7 p.m., however,  deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte issued a statement saying the President was departing as scheduled.

“While the President’s doctors advised rest for at least two days to ensure full recovery and prevent a relapse, the President has decided to push through with the trip,” Valte said. “This is in light of the preparations already made and the importance of the gathering for the formation of a regional consensus to ensure stability and peace in Asean. The President also believes recent developments in other parts of the world requires dialogue among Asean and other leaders on the potential economic and security impact of these events on the region.”

“President Benigno S. Aquino III will therefore be departing for Cambodia as previously scheduled,” she added.

Valte noted that last  Thursday, after a trip to Occidental Mindoro and then to Tagaytay to address address the Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the President “developed body malaise, fever and allergic rhinitis”

She said doctors diagnosed Aquino’s condition as influenza and allergic rhinitis.

“He rested most of yesterday,” Valte said. “Today, despite having experienced bouts of fever and muscle pains, the President went to the office to interview candidates for the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court till 5 in the afternoon.”

A palace source earlier Saturday said the President was resting at Bahay Pangarap, his official residence across the Pasig River from Malacañang Palace.

The President was scheduled to lead a 53-member delegation, including seven Cabinet members.

The advance party—including Palace officials in charge of the President’s foreign trips,  the Presidential Security Group, and members of the media—left on Thursday.

Alarm bells started to ring as early as Friday, when Aquino failed to receive Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, for a scheduled  10 a.m. courtesy call.

Lagarde had to be diverted at the last minute to the Coconut Palace, where she was received by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

She did show up at the Palace’s National Executive Building following the call on Binay, but only to brief reporters on the IMF’s rosy projections for the Philippine economy.

“The President is not well,” was all presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda could tell reporters then. He said his boss had the flu.

It was confirmed late Friday that the President was suffering from “flu and cold,” accompanied by bouts of coughing, according to a text message forwarded to the members of the Malacañang Press Corps.

Mr. Aquino had a full schedule on Thursday which took him early in the morning to Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, where he served as guest speaker at the province’s founding anniversary.

At 1 p.m. Thursday he was in Tagatay City for another speaking engagement, this time with officers of the Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

He was back in the Palace at 4 p.m. for a meeting with the the secretaries of budget and finance.

After canceling his meeting with Lagarde, Aquino reportedly stayed the whole day at Bahay Pangarap.

Valte said that it was customary for the President to take a day off a day before a foreign trip.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was heard over the radio Friday saying that the condition of the President, who had shown flu symptoms the past days, might have been aggravated by the change of weather when he flew to Tagaytay City from Mindoro.

Aquino traveled to three countries in a span of three weeks—state visits to New Zealand and Australia (October 22 to 26) and attendance at the 9th Asia-Europe meeting (November 4 to 6) in Laos.

It was in the Australian capital, Canberra, where he had to cut short his attendance at the official dinner hosted by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Parliament House. Aquino spoke briefly but left soon after his speech.

It was disclosed the day after that the President had a “bum stomach.”

Aquino, however, finished his diplomatic offensive in Australia, proceeding to Sydney where he met with business leaders and the Filipino community.

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  • bongarroyo

    PNOY di naniniwalang totoong may sakit ka nga ang mga utak talangka rito di ka raw kasi nila nakitang naka wheelchair….lol

    nasanay na kasi silang nagkakasakit lang ang isang mataas na opisyal ng gobyerno kapag ipinaaaresto lang…

    • jadejones2012

      ikaw lang yata ang hindi naniniwalang may sakit si ABnoy.

      Lahat ng commenters dito, naniniwalang may sakit siya.

      Ang tanong, kung gaano ka grabe.

      Cancer? Pwede.

      COPD? Pwede rin.

      Naka-drugs ka ba? 

      O kasing hina lang ang pag-iisip gaya ni ABnoy.

  • AnastacioMamaril

    Exercise Mr. President yan ang kailangan nyo. Iwasan ang yosi kadiri. Bawasan video games Mr. President.

  • Jon

    Kaialngan na ba nyang mag-wheelchair?
    Kahit na umubo siya ng dugo, wag syang magkakamaling gumamit noon.
    Patay sa alaska ang aabutin niya pagkatapos niyang tirahin si Gloria.  

  • Ibongpipit

    With cautious watch of his flu, the President should attend Asean being a leader among its member nations.  For the same purpose, US President also left for this meeting in spite of brewing war between Israel and Palestine.  The trip to this part of the world is for promoting peace, economic security and human rights issue resolutions.  They are common concerns that the Philippines also faces. 

    The mere fact these issues are up  for discussion justify their presence in the summit.  Territorial disputes with China are on-going on with Japan, Vietnam and Philippines.  Pivoting naval forces presence in Asia signals US vitality of the region and signal a deterrence for any uncalled threat to stability. Diplomatic discussions and resolutions of disputes should be a primary venue.  One can assume that it remains a US advise as previously voiced by Sec. Clinton during her earlier visits in the region.  Human rights issues remains an stubborn bump along the road of Yanmar quest for a democratic system.  
    The US naval base in Japan, the pending deployment of marines in Australia and VSF in the Philippines constitute the military presence in Asia.  We can only wish that for now, they evenly balance diplomatic gravity for maintaining peace in the region.

  • Your_King

    I don’t think Aquino will miss an opportunity to travel abroad just to complain about FPGMA and blame her for his short-comings.

  • kanoy

     Hi Te yea that was my point and, once again, right back to no unity no cohesion lol and they say that opposites attract our government is like 2 magnets each part containing an opposite pole that pushes the other portions away rather than attract,,,why we should elect both a P and a VP makes absolutely no sense…in effect its like electing 2 P from different parties,,,what other country elects a VP?

  • justice_league03

    noynoying virus attacks again!!! his condition is probably worse than anyone can get.

  • justice_league03

    “The President is not well,” was all presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda could tell reporters then. –  yes, he is proving this to us more and more by the day. some say its inborn…

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