Noynoy, priest: Psych report fake

Posted at 04/08/2010 8:06 PM | Updated as of 04/13/2010 12:21 PM

Ateneo psych dep't also says document is false


MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III and a Catholic priest have both denied the authenticity of a document purporting that Aquino suffered from clinical depression in the mid-1990's.

A “document” with the header of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of Psychology surfaced on the Internet on Thursday.

According to the “document,” Aquino underwent a psychiatric evaluation in 1996, when he was about 36 years old.

The alleged document, supposedly signed by Fr. Carmelo "Tito" Caluag, assessed Aquino as suffering from major depressive disorder, and recommended continuing therapy.

According to the alleged document, a sister of Aquino reported that she was "worried" that he has been depressed for 10 days.

The "document" also said that he has problems with his speech and in concentrating, due to tensions related to work and his separation from his flight attendant girlfriend.

The document also alleged that Aquino has a history of smoking, drinking, and use of marijuana when he was still in his teenage years.

The document recommended that he undergo medication and psychotherapy sessions.

'Fiction'

Aquino said, however, that the document was a "work of fiction".

"What they're doing is that they came up with this work of fiction, [and] I will respond [and] point out factual errors that are easily verifiable, thereby giving them the chance to, para bang may 'editing' of the work to make it sound more credible," Aquino told ABS-CBN News senior correspondent Ces Oreña Drilon during a sortie in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija province.

"So I'm in a position that there is a no-win situation, and the lack of attribution is already indicative of the fact that the person who made this fiction is aware that he is purporting fiction and is slanderous," he added.

"I am confident that there are a lot of people who have known me, they are people who, if they bother to read it, will find so many factual errors," he said.

Caluag: I'm not a psychologist

Caluag, meanwhile, said that the document was fake.

Caluag said that he has "never been connected" with the said department as the report claimed, as he was the principal of the Ateneo de Manila High School at the time the report was allegedly made.

He further clarified that he is an educator by training and a priest by vocation.

Caluag added he is not competent to make any kind of psychological assessment on anyone.

He, however, admitted that the signature on the document was similar to his, but said that it was just "pasted" on the report. He said it was the type of signature he would use to sign birthday cards sent to Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) alumni when he was still the university's Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations from 2000 to 2005.

He said he uses a different, "more formal" signature when signing official documents.

In a statement, Caluag flatly said that “the said report is bogus.”

He also appealed to the person who posted the “document” in a blog to disclose to him the source of the letter so he can “correct the mistake of a report attributed to me that I did not write and have no competence to write."

Caluag is currently the executive director of ABS-CBN's 71 Dreams Foundation.

ADMU Psych Dept: Document is false

Meanwhile, ADMU’s psychology department declared as false the so-called psychiatric evaluation on Aquino.

“The document is false; no faculty member or other professional affiliated with the Psychology Department has ever conducted a psychiatric assessment of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.,” the department said. (Read: ADMU psychology department statement)

The statement also confirmed that Caluag “is not a psychologist or psychiatrist and was never affiliated with the Psychology Department.”

“The Department denounces this attempt to vilify a person's character through the spreading of false information,” the department said. With reports from Ces Oreña-Drilon and Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News