Noy urges bets to undergo medical tests

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

LIPA CITY, Batangas, Philippines – President Aquino dared presidential candidates yesterday to voluntarily undergo medical and psychological examinations to prove their fitness to lead the nation for the next six years.

“We will vote for you, will you be able to finish your term? Maybe that is a valid question. And let us leave it to the candidates to answer the call of our fellowmen,” Aquino said.

It has to be on a voluntary basis, though, as Aquino pointed out after inaugurating the Lipa-Alaminos road here that there are privacy and rights issues involved.

The candidates’ physical and mental fitness issue surfaced after presidential survey frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte was reported to have made a joke about rape, drawing criticisms from various sectors.

Aquino said while they could not insist on such tests, people have the right to ask and know about the health conditions of the candidates as the job of a president entails a lot of stress and can be exhausting.

As a tip, he urged voters to elect someone who can survive the rigors of a six-year term and effect meaningful changes within that span of time.

“We are in a democratic state, maybe the candidates should give in to the appeal of the people to determine: what’s the whole truth about the one we are voting for?” the President added.

Election commissioner Rowena Guanzon said it would be a good idea if candidates would make their medical records public on a voluntary basis.

“In other countries, people have the right to learn about the health status of candidates,” said Guanzon, who chairs the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gender and development committee.

She added that the candidate’s “health, lifestyle and language are matters of public interest,” especially if they are seeking the highest position in the country. 

“That’s a matter of public interest now.  They should follow Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago,” Guanzon said, referring to the lawmaker’s disclosure of her lung cancer, which might explain her dismal showing in surveys.

Without referring to Duterte, Guanzon said, “foul language, including past and present actions, shows a person’s character. Comelec is very serious on gender sensitivity. They would say it is freedom of speech. We all have freedom of speech but there is appropriate speech.” – With Sheila Crisostomo, Helen Flores, Danny Dangcalan


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