MANILA, Philippines - With an extremely hectic schedule attending to problems of state, President Aquino – a 50-year-old bachelor – said yesterday that he now hardly had any time to date, and he has already lost his privacy.
He didn’t mention though if he was still going steady with his girlfriend of two years Shalani Soledad, a councilor of Valenzuela City, when GMA-7 anchor Mel Tiangco asked the question during the panel interview with fellow TV networks ABS-CBN 2 and TV 5.
“If there is time I still manage to go out on a date, but I no longer have privacy. I have many companions now (presidential guards) and I am busy even during Sundays. I hardly have any free time,” he said.
When asked if he hopes he could date more often, he replied: “As the Americans say, hope springs eternal.”
Rumors have it that Mr. Aquino and Soledad are no longer sweethearts, but no one has confirmed this either way.
Last April 28, at the height of the presidential campaign, Mr. Aquino had a 20-minute date with Soledad, who turned 30 on that day. “Yes, we had a date for about 20 minutes,” he told reporters who covered the Liberal Party sortie in Tacloban, Leyte.
Then presidential candidate Aquino revealed that it was even made in advance, or before midnight of April 27.
Aquino had always tried to keep his personal life private, providing scanty details of his relationship with Soledad, who was re-elected as councilor of Valenzuela under Aquino’s LP.
When asked for Soledad’s reaction to his proposal that Abante columnist-reporter Rey Marfil, who is now his Press Assistant Secretary, would be his “ring-bearer,” along with Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, Aquino said that she was “speechless.”
“She seemed speechless when I asked her if she had read what was written in the papers. She opened her mouth and did not say anything. Yesterday she was in a hurry. She said in her text message that we will have dinner when I get back. We will have to talk first,” he related.
“But anyway when I get to talk to her I will tell her that Rey is a good man,” Aquino said. In a text message to Marfil, Soledad wrote, apparently also in jest: “Thank you ring-bearer…”