Disclosure of Duterte’s health

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    THE physical and mental health of the nation’s leader takes on a heavier and more important role at this time when the Philippines is being ravaged by an epidemic the likes of which the world had not encountered in exactly 100 years.

    The Supreme Court consigned to the dust bin last week Atty. Dino de Leon’s petition asking the high court to order Malacañang to publicize President Duterte’s health records from his assumption to office on June 30, 2016 up to the present.

    `They do not believe that there exists a compelling need for Malacañang to publicize a presidential clean bill of health.’

    The petitioner’s move is predicated on the need for such disclosure as written in the Constitution, but the high tribunal saw no need for it. To recall, the Chief Executive on several occasions had admitted that he was suffering from various kinds of illnesses, and De Leon noted that “the illnesses acknowledged by the President come within the meaning of ‘serious illness’ and that ‘given the gravity of the illnesses, the public release of his medical bulletins becomes a ministerial duty upon request of any concerned citizen.'”

    It is a fact that Duterte had admitted in public that he has Buerger’s disease, which causes the swelling of blood vessels as a result of years of smoking. He also revealed that he has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease, along with Barrett’s esophagus condition. The President also suffered from a slipped disc following a minor motorcycle accident in Malacañang Park.

    All these facts are known to the justices of the Supreme Court but still they dismissed De Leon’s petition. They do not believe that there exists a compelling need for Malacañang to publicize a presidential clean bill of health.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque was exceedingly happy that the Supreme Court junked the petition requiring President Duterte to disclose his medical records and undergo confirmatory medical and psychological/psychiatric tests. Roque said President Duterte is healthy and even looked younger than he saw him in Malacañang in 2018 before he resigned as Duterte’s spokesman to run for the Senate.

    Roque noted that Duterte’s good condition shows whenever he appears on television to report on the government’s response in the fight against the pandemic.

    Last month, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the petition of a lawyer named Dino De Leon was probably filed out of boredom from being locked down due to the pandemic.

    Duterte might have been healthy, as Roque and Salvador Panelo vow their boss is, but Atty. De Leon’s observation cannot be gainsaid: “President Duterte’s public appearances to address the country on the pandemic were incoherent, unresponsive, and filled with unintelligible rumblings,” he said.

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