Thursday, December 17, 2009

Candidates asked to bare medical records

Original Story:

A PRIVATE think tank associated with former President Fidel Ramos is urging all presidential aspirants to make their medical records public amid reports that one of them had “a history of being an autistic during his growing-up years.”

The Center for Issues and Advocacy on Wednesday said candidates baring their medical history would prove to the public that they were “sane and capable of handling the rigorous demands of the presidency.”

“Although the submission of a medical certificate is not required under the Omnibus Election Code or even in the Constitution, candidates aspiring for the presidency must have the mental balance and be physically fit to govern as President,” said the center’s director, Ed Malay, who is also a spokesman for Ramos.

“This [submission of medical history] has become necessary amid disturbing reports that one of the presidential aspirants has a history of being an autistic during his growing up years,” he added.

Malay declined to name the presidential aspirant.

From an initial record high of 99 aspirants, the list of presidential candidates has been trimmed to eight: Senator Benigno Aquino III (Liberal Party); former Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (Lakas-Kampi-CMD); former President Joseph Estrada (Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino); JC de los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran); Senator Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan); Senator Consuelo Madrigal (independent); Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas) and Senator Manuel Villar (Nacionalista Party).

“The medical certificate will serve to assure the people that those whom they will vote for are physically and mentally capable of leading the country,” Malay said.

On Wednesday, the Aquino camp accused his political rivals of deceiving the public about the latest presidential survey results by making it appear that the ratings for Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalita Party and former Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD had improved.

“Push-polling is an old trapo technique to bring a front-runner’s numbers down. The public should know that the numbers being trumpeted by our opponents do not show the real picture,” said LP general campaign manager Florencio Abad.

He said Villar’s improvement in a recent Social Weather Stations survey commissioned by Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn was based on a “choose three” survey question asking respondents to choose three top candidates.

In a “choose one” question, Villar’s rating dropped from 45 percent to only 20 percent, Abad said.

Also on Wednesday, two UP professors questioned a survey showing that Aquino’s popularity had taken a nosedive, calling it “disturbingly inconsistent” with previous surveys.

They referred to a survey of 1,200 respondents conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center that showed a surge in support for Teodoro and a drop in Aquino’s rating.

J. Prospero De Vera of the College of Public Administration and Roxanne Girlie Cipriano of the College of Mass Communications said the survey was full of inconsistencies and was therefore not credible. Joyce Pangco PaƱares and Fel V. Maragay

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