MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Former President Fidel V. Ramos said his daughter Josephine 'Jo' Martinez Ramos was a smoker for 25 years, and this may have caused her lung cancer and eventual death on Monday.
He disclosed that his daughter had kept her ailment a secret from them, and that the Ramos family found out about it only 5 weeks before she passed away.
"Yan pa ang nakakalungkot, matagal niyang inilihim yan. Para bang isang konting asthma o influenza lang," Ramos said, adding that his daughter suffered from the disease for 8 months.
"Paalala sa atin siguro na smoking is bad for the health...Si Jo was a victim of very vicious lung cancer na hindi naagapan ng modern medicine," the 83-year-old health buff said.
Ramos, the Philippines' 12th president, said his daughter was a "very caring and sharing" and "modest" person.
President Benigno Aquino III went to Funeraria Paz in Sucat, Parañaque on Monday night to condole with the Ramos family.
Former Cabinet members and friends of Ramos paid their respects, including National Security Adviser Jose Almonte, Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, Senator Gregorio 'Gringo' Honasan, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando, Senator Bong Revilla, and Senator Ernesto Maceda.
Ramos, 54, was a musical artist and athlete.
Her interment will be on July 1 at 12 noon.
Jo used to be a back-up singer for the Powerplay Band of Gary Valenciano and Mon Faustino, and performed in several concerts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with composers Maritess Salientes and Louie Ocampo, and international pianist Rowena Arrieta.
|Jo Ramos, daughter of former president Fidel Ramos, in an interview in Arlegui, Malacañang in 1993. Photo: ABS-CBN Archives
On top of these, Jo was a champion water skiier and was a member of the Philippine Ladies National Water Skiing Team, which won medals at the South East Asian Games in the 70s.
Lung cancer is caused mainly by smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke.
Last year, the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology said the disease is the deadliest cancer
not only in the Philippines but also in other countries. -- Report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News