PRESIDENTIAL RACE FRONT-RUNNER Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III on Monday rejected calls to quit smoking, saying his habit would help him deal with the severe pressures of his new position should he be proclaimed the country’s 15th president next month.
Mr. Aquino brushed aside calls from health groups that quitting smoking would set a good example for the country.
“I will be coming under a lot of pressure. Should I add another unnecessary pressure? Maybe that might even affect my decisions on what I should do,” Mr. Aquino told reporters.
The 50-year-old bachelor, said by former colleagues to smoke about one or two packets a day, conceded that quitting smoking would be good for his health and that he intended to kick the habit eventually.
But he said quitting now would add “stress” to his life and argued that, as long as he followed smoking regulations and did not bother anyone, he should be free to smoke.
“This is one of my few remaining freedoms,” he said.
Congress, which convened yesterday to canvass votes for president and vice-president, aims to proclaim the winners between June 4 and 15. — AFP