Feb 082013
On his birthday, President Benigno Aquino III on Friday took time off from his official schedule to fulfill the wish of a 15-year-old cancer patient who seemed to have given up hope in getting well.

Jericho Navarro Rafols, has been suffering from bone cancer since he was 13. Doctors attending him had to amputate his right leg to stop the spread of the disease.

“The boy had given up, but the President’s Friday morning lifted the boy’s spirits,” said a palace staffer.

“Sa una ayaw na magpagamot at lumaban, pero nung sinabi ni PNoy [na] i-tuloy ang laban, doon siya nagkaroon [uli] ng lakas na lumaban…,” the Palace staff added.

Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang confirmed the President’s visit to the boy.

“The President visited Jericho Rafols, a bone cancer patient at the Philippine Orthopedic Center. It was [his] wish to meet the President,” Carandang told reporters at a briefing.

“The President took time off from his schedule. He had a meeting with the PMS (Presidential Management Staff), [but] he took time off from his schedule to personally greet the boy,” he added.

While at the Philippine Orthopedic Center, Aquino also visited another patient who has been confined for over 15 years.

Mario Maniego was on his way home from work in 1998 when he slipped on a gutter and fell, hitting his spinal chord. Both Rafols and Maniego are confined in the charity ward of the hospital.

First birthday greeting

Members of the Presidential Security Group had the pleasure of greeting Aquino first on his birthday.

“You might be wondering kung sino ang unang nakabati kay Pangulo and I will tell you that it was the Presidential Security Group. The PSG greeted him this morning as he left to begin his day,” Carandang said.

The PSG members are with Aquino almost 24 hours a day. “They are the ones who have access to him earliest, sila yun unang nakaka-greet kay Pangulo in person. But I’m sure, lahat ng mga kasama ko sa Cabinet like myself also texted him very early this morning,” he said.

Moreover, he said Cabinet members will have a chance to greet the president personally during their first full meeting of 2013, scheduled Friday afternoon. — LBG, GMA News

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