PMA criticizes doctor for Pacquiao comments

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2013 02:53 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2013 02:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) on Wednesday criticized one of its members, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, after the neurologist said in a radio interview that he has observed signs of Parkinson’s disease on boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

In a statement, the PMA said they “refrain from issuing statements regarding controversial cases involving national figures, unless called upon by higher authorities.”

“In the case of Congressman Manny Pacquiao, I will just keep quiet and not say anything about it because it’s none of my business, especially to the media and the public,” PMA president Dr. Modesto Llamas said.

“I don’t want the public to misunderstand me,” Llamas added.

Jimenez, the president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, told radio DZMM early this month that he has been observing early signs of Parkinson’s on Pacquiao, including hand-twitching and stuttering during interviews.

He made the comment despite not having met Pacquiao personally to check on the boxer.

Jimenez later told ABS-CBNnews.com in a phone interview that he could be wrong in his observations, but still warned Pacquiao to be cautious.

Pacquiao’s team later criticized Jimenez for his unsolicited diagnosis and briefly considered filing a civil suit against the doctor, although the “Pacman” has since said he is not suing Jimenez.

Dr. Santiago del Rosario, a member of the PMA Ethics Committee, pointed out that it was not right for a doctor to diagnose someone who is not his patient.

“The channeling should be from the primary physician, and nobody else can make any opinion or express any position as far as the health of any patient that is not his patient,” del Rosario said.

Jimenez, for his part, said he only acted out of concern for Pacquiao.

“I’m not labelling Mr. Pacquiao as having Parkinson’s disease. Observation ko lang ‘yun at sinasabi ko, magpa-test siya ng mabuti before another fight,” he said.

Jimenez added that he is among Pacquiao’s biggest fans and wants nothing bad to happen to the boxer.

The PMA plans to get Jimenez’s side of the story in their next monthly meeting. -- Report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News