Santiago refuses to make medical records public

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago refuses to release her medical records, invoking her right to privacy.

This was in response to a letter penned by a doctor calling on her to reveal her records.

An open letter published on a multimedia platform by psychologist Dr. Sylvia Claudio urged Santiago to release her medical records, adding that if she did not "receive a miracle" from being cured of stage four lung cancer, there is a "great probability" Santiago will not survive the six-year term, should she win the presidency.

Santiago said Claudio was free to go to St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City and formally ask for her records in writing.

The senator said that she would abide by the hospital's protocol. However, she added that according to the country's civil and criminal codes, lawyers could not force patients to reveal medical records.

Santiago admitted that it is within Claudio's right to think that she is lying, but she cannot be forced to make her medical records known just because she was running for president.

The senator said to do so would be a violation of human rights.

Santiago also questioned Claudio's motive.

"Hindi natin alam kung sino yung babaeng iyon at kung gusto lang niya mag-eskandalo sa kampanya ko... Anong ibig niyang sabihin, hindi ako nagka-cancer? Bakit ako nag-a-absent ng one and a half years? Wala naman sa record ko na mag-bubulakbol ako?"

The senator added that she was always at the hospital nearly every week with her panel of doctors headed by Dr. Esperanza Cabral, the former Health secretary.

She said Claudio seems to argue that it is her burden to prove that she is healthy for the presidency. If that is the case, Santiago said, then all those running for the 2016 election should also be asked of their health, mental, and financial issues.