Noynoy: 'I'm not autistic'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2009 08:42 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2009 04:55 AM

Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who was speaking to Ted Failon from a rally celebrating his late father's birthday. November 27 is the birth date of the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

MANILA - Presidential candidate Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III reacted to statements insinuating that he is autistic.

In an interview with Ted Failon on TV Patrol special election segment "Juan on 1," Aquino said he considered the statement "meaningless."

"With all due respect, if you (Ted Failon) weren't the one asking, would I labor to answer such a meaningless question?" said Aquino, who is running for president next year under the Liberal Party.

Aquino added that the voters who elected him to Congress or in the Senate would not have chosen him if he were mentally or socially challenged.

"Ako po'y nahalal nang tatlong beses sa segundong distrito ng Tarlac. 'Yong mga kababayan ko po ba'y hindi marunong pumili? Ako po'y number 6 (ranking in the Senate) - 14 million votes halos nang ako'y nahalal na senador. Lahat po ba sila ay hindi marunong pumili?" Aquino said.

(I was elected 3 times as a representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac. Does that mean my fellow Tarlac residents do not know how to choose their leader? I was ranked 6th - with [14.3] million votes - when I was elected Senator. Does that mean all those voters do not know how to choose their leader?)

Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 2 years of life. It is usually affects a person's motor, language, communication, and social skills.

According to Autism Pinoy, a website that aims to shed light on the disorder, autism is the "fastest-growing developmental disability."

The disease reportedly affects 1 out of every 150 children. The website states that 67 children are diagnosed with autism per day.

'Black propaganda'

Internet reports said it was a newspaper column by Ambassador Ernesto Maceda that sparked talks of Aquino's alleged autism.

In his "Mr. Expose" column titled "Autism on the Rise", Maceda stated that autism was becoming the talk of the town "because of indications that a major national candidate is autistic."

Internet reports also said that a reporter from Manila Standard Today asked Aquino at a press conference whether he thought he was the subject of Maceda's column.

Aquino reportedly called these talks "baseless and malicious" and "nearly blew his top" when he answered the reporter's question.

According to a report by the Manila Standard Today, Aquino said: "Do I have to answer something like that? To be honest, I have a degree from a very prestigious university in this country."

Aquino has an economics degree from the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU).

"I am responding to something I don't know I can be alluded to in any manner, shape, form whatsoever. And if these are the questions that you and your paper will propound to me, I would rather not talk to any of you anymore," Aquino was quoted as saying.

In his TV Patrol interview, Aquino also answered several questions about the recent massacre of journalists and civilians in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao; his sisters' roles when he becomes president; and, his stake in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita. Report from ABS-CBN News.