Kris Aquino and the Pinoy singer who died of AIDS

By Alex P. Vidal

“I know that in life there will be sickness, devastation, disappointments, heartache – it’s a given. What’s not a given is the way you choose to get through it all. If you look hard enough, you can always find the bright side.”—Rashida Jones

I TOLD a friend from Manila last Saturday I would try my best to locate the medical clinic or hospital in New York City if ever Philippine celebrity Kris Aquino, who was scheduled to fly to the United States for medical treatment over the weekend, would arrive in the Big Apple.

The problem is, nobody knew whether Ms Aquino, 51, was bound for Los Angeles or New York.

Details of her reported trip weren’t available and are probably confidential.

If reports from Manila were to be believed, Ms Aquino, who reportedly brought her two sons on the trip, was already in the United States on February 20.

The friend said they were interested to know the latest about Ms. Aquino’s medical treatment as they suspected “she was suffering from a serious ailment that was not truly revealed in public.” She didn’t elaborate.

The press had reported that The Queen of All Media has been suffering from autoimmune thyroiditis, which includes a protrusion of one of her eyeballs.

Another problem I told my friend from Manila was, even if I got lucky to locate the showbiz VIP’s whereabouts (granting she’s in New York), there’s no assurance she would allow any interview from the press.


For sure, she would try her best to make her trip and medical treatment as strictly confidential as possible.

Another reason why I became interested in Ms Aquino’s case is that, in the past, so many VIPs—political, sports and entertainment personalities—who surreptitiously left the Philippines to seek medical treatment abroad, didn’t really disclose their real ailment until after they have died when medical authorities confirmed the truth.

No one knew if they were dying or their conditions could still be remedied even if they availed the most advanced and sophisticated medical attention in the US, London, Japan, and Canada.

Like the popular Filipino singer who died of AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome a long time ago.

We are referring to the case of Rodel Naval, who died in Toronto, Canada on June 11, 1995, at the age of 42.

His real ailment had been concealed because of his celebrity status and he was initially reported to be suffering from pneumocystis pneumonia.

But a year later on a Filipino television show hosted by the late Inday Badiday, his family confessed that his death was the result of complications related to AIDS.


THANK YOU VITAMIN D. Even before it was reported that vitamin D “has role in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19”, I was already a fan of this vitamin for more than 10 years now.

When I ran out of this vitamin end of January, I immediately rushed to the nearest pharmacy, Walgreen, located five minutes away by walk from my apartment in Queens.

Lately, it was reported that Vitamin D’s effectivity against the deadly virus has been long contested by many experts since the pandemic began, fueled by early chatter of alternative treatment methods back in 2020.

But a new piece of research has once again reignited the public’s interest in these supplements, as scientists highlight a possible association between vitamin D levels and the immune system’s ability to fend off severe COVID-19 symptoms, particularly associated with the Omicron variant.

The small-scale study, which was organized by researchers in Israel and is based on data collected between April 2020 and February 2021, was recently published in PLOS ONE and presents a case that researchers say is “equally relevant” for Omicron spread as well.

The data was collected from 253 people who were admitted to hospitals for treatment (at a time before vaccines were available) and was used to conclude that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to develop a severe or critical case of COVID-19, as compared to patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels within blood samples taken at the time of hospitalization. About half of those in the study were deficient in the vitamin.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)