Lawyer presses petition on Duterte’s health records

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    LAWYER Dino de Leon has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision junking his petition to compel Malacañang to release the medical records of President Duterte and to set the case for oral arguments.

    In a motion dated July 24, De Leon cited “transcendental importance” to the nation of Duterte’s duty to disclose his health status and other health records since he assumed the presidency in 2016.

    “It is clear that the information subject of the petition is a matter of public concern, as it involves no less than the physical and mental capacity of the President to carry out his duties at a time of a pandemic where his lucid decisions may spell the difference between life and death for so many people,” he said.

    De Leon said the justices should not have “hastily dismissed” his petition, saying the abrupt junking of his plea “made it appear that the justices took the cudgels to defend the President and denied the Filipinos’ right to hear the President’s side.

    He said Duterte himself has admitted he has his illness and these illnesses. De Leon said, are “serious and can be debilitating enough to prevent continuing work in public office” when taken together.

    “The emperor has no clothes, and it is time for the Honorable Court to call a spade a spade, if only to protect the Filipino people from a physically and mentally unwell leader. This is even more important at a time of a crisis where the Chief Executive should undoubtedly be physically and mentally able to govern,” he further said.

    In its resolution dated May 8 but released only early this month dismissing his petition, the SC said De Leon failed to establish a prima facie case that would warrant the granting of his plea.

    It will be recalled that in his original petition, De Leon said he was prompted to seek the court’s intervention for the disclosure of Duterte’s medical record due to some concerns, such as the President’s being absent from some important events and failure to answer intelligibly questions thrown at him during press briefings.

    He also said Duterte has admitted publicly that he is suffering from several ailments such as Buerger’s disease, Barrett’s esophagus, daily migraine, spinal issues and myasthenia gravis.

    The SC has said De Leon’s insinuation that the President is suffering from serious illnesses was belied by the fact that the latter has been visibly holding regular cabinet meetings in recent months, and was even holding televised briefings and addresses to report on the government’s response against COVID-19.