If President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III ever decides to quit smoking, he can turn to one of the world's most powerful leaders, US President Barack Obama, for advice.
Aquino said he and Obama, a smoker who is also trying to quit the habit, briefly talked about the issue when the US president congratulated him over the phone Wednesday night.
"At some point I attempted some humor, sabi ko (I told him) 'Mr. President I understand we have the same issue with smoking.' Sabi niya (He told me), 'Well, I quit that already. I quit, it's your sole problem but I'm ready to offer advice,'" recalled Aquino.
"He'll send it raw," Aquino said. "'At the time that you decide to quit, I'll send the advice.' I think that was almost the exact quote."
Obama is known to be waging a public battle against smoking ever since he was elected president January last year. By his admission, Obama has slipped several times and enjoyed an occasional cigarette.
Obama called up Aquino a few hours after Congress proclaimed Aquino the next president and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay the incoming vice president.
Aquino said he had "a very pleasant conversation" with Obama, who he said seemed "very sincere" in his intention in strengthening ties with the Philippines.
The call lasted 15 to 20 minutes, longer than the phone conversation between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Aquino after his proclamation. Obama was the first one to call Aquino.
The Department of Health, anti-tobacco advocates, and other groups have urged Aquino to quit smoking, saying that aside from causing health problems, his habit may pose security woes.
Aquino's smoking habit has even been featured on the New York Times.
Aquino, however, has maintained that he does not intend to kick off the habit anytime soon.
"Noong tumakbo ako, alam ng taumbayan [na] naninigarilyo ako. At the appropriate time na hihinto ako, titigil ako. So long as nako-control ako sa mga batas at wala akong naiistorbo baka parte ito ng kalayaan kong natitira ," Aquino said back then.
(When I ran for the presidency, everyone knew I was a smoker. I will kick the habit at the appropriate time. As long as I follow the controls of the laws and I don't disturb other people, then maybe this is a part of what remains of my freedom.) — KBK/RSJ, GMANews.TV
Reposted From GMA News.TV