MAYOR Estrada had a bout with some sort of lung ailment while attending one of several Christmas parties of City Hall just before the holidays, and was admitted to a hospital.
His son Sen. J. V. Ejercito announced that Erap had pneumonia, which was later clarified by former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, a more senior son, as just asthma.
Whatever illness Erap had, it was at least admitted by the Ejercitos in subsequent announcements to the public, especially the people of Manila who are his constituency.
Any doubts about Erap’s health were at once erased when they saw him in a public function during the holidays, assisting President Rodrigo Duterte at the raising of the huge flag at Rizal Monument on the morning of Rizal Day, December 30.
Just as we thought Erap’s health was an issue, at least in Manila, we were surprised to hear from columnist and former senator Francisco Tatad himself that Duterte, during the same holiday period, may have taken a “seven-day hiatus” or vacation to visit doctors at the renowned Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangshou, China.
Tatad based his calculated guess on the way Duterte’s return flight from Davao to Manila -- an ordinary local trip made even more ordinary by the President’s propensity to take the weekly trip -- was treated in measured detail by a major newspaper’s report.
The columnist also noticed presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella’s prevarication when asked by media where the President spent his holidays. “I think -- in Davao or in Manila,” Abella quipped, even as another source who would not want to be identified said the Chief Executive were neither in Davao or in Manila.
Duterte’s oft-repeated mumble that he might not finish his term and that he had to tweak some nerves or take the strong pain killer fentanyl also led people like Tatad to believe that the President’s health concerns, or worse, his being treated for a serious illness like cancer, is taking a life of its own.
Because the President’s health is a matter of public interest, the people deserve to be told the plain truth in this regard.
This is simply what the columnist is saying, and the President and his men owe it to the people to be forthright in their answers.
President Duterte still has the highest trust and confidence bestowed by the Filipino people and though we may differ with some of his policies, we sincerely hope that he accomplish all the tasks he has set himself to do for the good of the nation.
To this end, we wish him well.