, MANILA, May 24 – Philippine president-elect Benigno Aquino on Monday rejected calls to quit smoking, saying his habit would help him deal with the severe pressures of his new position.
Aquino brushed aside calls from health groups that quitting smoking would set a good example for the country.
"I will be coming under a lot of pressure. Should I add another unnecessary pressure? Maybe that might even affect my decisions on what I should do," Aquino told reporters.
The 50-year-old bachelor conceded that quitting smoking would be good for his health and he intended to kick the habit eventually.
But he said quitting now add "stress" to his life and pointed out that, as long as he followed smoking regulations and did not bother anyone, he should be free to smoke.
"This is one of my few remaining freedoms," he said.
The son of recently deceased democracy heroine Corazon Aquino won the May 10 national elections by a landslide after campaigning on pledges to wipe out corruption in the impoverished nation.
However, although the election commission released vote tallies showing him to have an insurmountable lead, the nation\’s parliament has to officially proclaim Aquino the winner.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, this will occur over the next couple of weeks, and Aquino will succeed President Gloria Arroyo on June 30.