MANILA, Philippines – Dr. Rustico Jimenez, the neurologist who incited controversy when he said he has observed early signs of Parkinson’s disease in boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, said he only made the controversial comments out of concern for the “Pacman.”
“I am not labeling Mr. Pacquiao as having Parkinson’s disease,” said Jimenez, the president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines.
“Observation ko lang ‘yun at ang sinasabi ko, magpa-test siyang mabuti before another fight,” he added. “I am just protecting the health of Mr. Pacquiao.”
Jimenez made the comments during a live interview on radio DZMM, wherein he said he has observed early symptoms of Parkinson’s in Pacquiao, including stuttering and hand-twitching.
The neurologist has not met with Pacquiao personally to diagnose him. He later told ABS-CBNnews.com that he may be wrong in his observations, but stressed that Pacquiao should be cautious.
“(It was) a live interview so hindi ‘yun... scripted kung ano man ang sasabihin ko,” Jimenez said. “We are in a free country, we are in a democracy so walang pakialam ‘yung iba na sinasabi na huminto ka sa sinasabi mo.”
The Pacquiao camp briefly contemplated filing a civil suit against Jimenez for his comments, although the boxer has said he has no plans to file a case against the doctor and instead only wants an apology.
“Kung nasaktan siya because of my observations humihingi ako ng sorry sa kanya,” Jimenez said. “In my heart, it is more for his health.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) has criticized Jimenez.
“The PMA refrains from issuing statements regarding controversial cases, especially involving national figures, unless called upon by higher authorities,” the PMA said in a statement.
Dr. Santiago del Rosario, a member of the PMA Ethics Committee, said a doctor should not diagnose a person who is not his patient.
“The channeling should be from the primary physician, and nobody else can make any opinion or express his position as far as the healthy of any patient that is not his patient,” he said.
The PMA is planning to get Jimenez’s side of the story in their next monthly meeting. -- From a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News