CANBERRA, Australia (3rd UPDATE) - President Aquino got sick and had to leave the official dinner hosted by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Wednesday night.
Gillard was hosting a banquet for the visiting Philippine leader and his delegation from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Manila) when Aquino asked to be excused reportedly due to a bum stomach, which he had since morning.
CANBERRA, Australia –President Benigno S. Aquino III converses with Prime Minister of Australia The Honourable Julia Gillard MP during a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister, Parliament House on Wednesday (October 24) in connection with his State Visit to Australia. (Photo by: Benhur Arcayan/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).
Aquino, however, finished the ceremonial speeches and toasts before leaving.
Gillard wished him a good night's rest and left the banquet after Aquino.
“Your Excellency, Mr. President, thank you for gracing us with your presence this evening. We are very, very disappointed that you had become unwell but we wish you a very speedy recovery and a good night’s rest here in Australia,” Gillard said.
“As the President and I have warmed up I have remarked—-and if all members of this delegation could note this—-that he should be saved from any paperwork during the course of this evening (laughter). I know what it’s like to be chased around with paperwork when you’re feeling unwell and I’m sure it’s going to aid his recovery if he is left undisturbed tonight which is my way of acknowledging our other honored Filipino guests…”
Aside from Gillard, Senator George Brandis also delivered his remarks in honor of Aquino and the Philippines.
When his turn to speak came, Aquino wished he were in a better condition so he could stay.
"After hearing both speeches, I have wished I had been in more perfect health. The speech that was prepared for this evening seems so wholly inadequate. Unfortunately, this is a question of the spirit wanting and the body not cooperating at this point in time," Aquino said.
A press conference with Philippine media in Australia scheduled between 9:30-10:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Manila) has been cancelled.
Dinner for the other guests continued.
Served during the dinner were pistachio crusted pressed beef with citrus sour cream, smoky capsicum puree, pan fried snapper served with mushrooms and asparagus, and milk chocolate and hazelnut praline with butterscotch sauce.