MANILA - A spokesman of President Arroyo admitted Friday that Mrs. Arroyo had breast augmentation 20 years ago but denied reports that the implants were leaking.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde earlier downplayed rumors that Mrs. Arroyo had checked in at the Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa City to have her breast silicone implants removed and replaced.
"Kayong mga lalake, alam niyo naman tingnan kung ang babae nagpa-retoke. Res ipsa loquitur," Remonde told male reporters using a legal term that means "the thing speaks for itself."
He added: "Si Presidente ba mukha na iyong tipo ng babae na magpapaganun (Is the President the type of woman who would do that [breast augmentation])?"
The press secretary later changed his tune and admitted that Mrs. Arroyo did have breast augmentation 20 years ago but that the implants were not leaking.
Remonde said the President was declared in good health after biopsies were conducted on lumps found on her breast and groin.
"The result of the biopsy is negative. The President is in good health. You will see her moving around in the next few days. That's the best proof of her health," he said.
Arroyo, 62, checked in at a private hospital south of the capital Manila on Tuesday night after returning from two weeks of travel to Japan, Colombia, Brazil and Hong Kong. Palace officials said Mrs. Arroyo volunteered to quarantine herself after the trip despite relaxed Influenza A (H1N1) quarantine guidelines from the Department of Health.
Remonde said the President had undergone a medical check-up before her trip last month but "some test results needed follow-up," including the biopsies.
In a text message to reporters, Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo noted that the issue about the President's purported medical procedures is "disrespectful, not only of the President, but of women's health issues. As head of state, the President is fully aware that she must be transparent about her health and she is."
She added: "If she were afflicted with an illness that could keep her from performing her responsibilities, she would give full disclosure."
The Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc were the first to report about Mrs. Arroyo's alleged need for "mammoplastic repair of leaking breast implants done in the ’80s."
Bondoc reported that Mrs. Arroyo used the post-travel self-quarantine for A(H1N1) early this week as a handy cover for gynecological procedures.
"The President has been suffering dysfunctional bleeding, likely due to polyps or myoma in the uterus. She had first walked into the hospital one dawn in 2008 for D&C (dilation and curettage) and left at dusk. News then was that she had an executive check. She’s had three follow-ups this year, the last in June. Menopause is inducing abnormal tissue growth and hormonal imbalance, a source said," he said in his July 3 column.
He added that doctors were also set to remove an inguinal cyst on the President's groin "and laser off extra hair growth in that area and the armpits."
Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay earlier said Malacañang should come clean about the state of Mrs. Arroyo's health following reports that she underwent medical procedures at the Asian Hospital, contrary to Palace claims that she went on a self-quarantine following her trips abroad.
"My concern is whether her medical condition is affecting her judgment and fitness to govern," Binay said.
"As we enter the crucial months leading to the elections, and with all these talks of destabilization and no election, we cannot leave the big decisions to someone who may not be physically well," he added.
The opposition leader said if such a report was true, "then once again, the Palace has been caught lying to the people."
He also said since it is the taxpayers who paid for Mrs. Arroyo's hospital stay, "Then again, there is the issue of cost to the taxpayer. The taxpayers should be told that they paid for medical procedures and not a self-quarantine as claimed by Malacanang."