Manila, Philippines --- No lupus, no dialysis treatments, just flu for Vice President Jejomar C. Binay.
The 70-year-old Binay last Friday night jokingly addressed "wild rumors" about his health, asking doctors attending a conference of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) to examine him for tell-tale signs of an ailment and join him in his daily walking exercise.
He, however, admitted that he is "beginning to feel the onset of a bug" because of fatigue from the 90-day campaign period. As president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Binay helped campaign for the opposition coalition's nine-person senatorial slate especially during the homestretch.
He repeatedly cleared his throat while delivering his speech during the 106th Annual Convention and Scientific Meetings of the PMA at the historic landmark Manila Hotel.
Apparently peeved with persistent rumors about his supposed illnesses, Binay, who has declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2016, asked PMA members to do an on-the -spot medical check-up on him to see whether rumors about his supposed failing health are true.
The rumors, he said, even came from some physicians themselves.
That is why, he said, he had wanted to deliver the keynote speech in a gathering of doctors to purposefully dispel said rumors.
"Marahil naman ay nakarating na sa inyo ang mga bulong-bulong, mga haka-haka at sa iba ay 'conclusive statement' na ako daw po ay may sakit. Lahat na yata ng sakit ay mayroon daw po ako. At natatawa lang ako dahil ilan sa mga nagsasabi o nagkukwento ng ganito ay mga doktor din (I suppose you might have heard about the rumors, and "conclusive statements" that I am sick, and that I am plagued with all sorts of ailments. I am amused especially because some of those who have been spreading such rumors are also doctors)" the Vice President said.
"Kaya gusto kong malaman kung papano nasabi nilang ako ay may sakit samantalang may doktor na tumitingin sa akin sa aming bahay araw-araw, gabi-gabi na walang iba kung hindi ang aking natatanging asawa na si Dra. Elenita Binay (I'd like to know how people came to say that I am sick when there is a doctor who examines me in my own house on a daily basis, that is, no other than my wife, Dra. Elenita Binay)" he said.
"Kaya po ngayong gabi pagkatapos ng aking talumpati, inaanyayahan ko kayong mga nandito na mag-examine sa akin para kayo na mismo ang makapagsabi kung totoo na ako ay may Lupus, or nagda-dialysis o kung anumang sakit ang sinasabi nilang mayroon po ako (That's why I'd like you all to examine me after I finish delivering my speech so that you can determine for yourselves whether or not it's true that I have lupus, that I am undergoing dialysis treatment)" he continued.
According to the Medical News Today website, "lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs."
Binay also asked the doctors to join him in his "walking exercise" which he does five times a week.
"My personal goal is 10,000 steps a day but I must admit that I often exceed my personal goal by a few more thousand steps. You're free to join me. Or if you have a walking club composed of doctors I hope you would invite me to join you in your activities," he said.
Binay earlier said that the rumors about his supposed illnesses date back to his days as mayor of Makati City.
The rumors were spread by his political opponents, he said.
On a serious note, Binay stressed the need to put a premium on preventive health in order to allow government to use resources for other needs.
He cited Makati's expanded immunization program which yielded zero incidence of polio, diphtheria, pertussis and neonatal tetanus for over a decade.
"I am proud to say that because of the substantial public investments in health that started under my term - and these investments find continuity under the current mayor - who happens to share my surname - Makati has been acknowledged as one of the healthiest cities in the Philippines," he said.
"But my experience has also taught me that investing in health facilities and infrastructure is not enough. We also need to invest in the training and welfare of doctors and other health personnel. By doing so, we can assure the people that they will receive consistent quality and affordable health care," he added.