PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s state of health is again a national concern, the focus of attention and speculations for both critics and supporters alike, and most especially among the so-called netizens.
The reason for this resurgence is the announcement by Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo that the Chief Executive is taking a three-day official leave of absence. Said Panelo, “Upon the advice of friends, colleagues… and most likely upon the advice of the doctors also to take a rest from his punishing schedule.”
Panelo was careful to note that the President will not undergo any medical procedure during this three-day break and that he will just stay in Davao City to rest.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will serve as caretaker of the executive branch.
This is a usual assignment for the ES, especially when the President is abroad for personal and official reasons.
Health-related personal events in the President’s life came one after another recently, such as the motorcycle accident inside the Presidential Security Group compound, his shortened visit to Japan due to unbearable pain in his back, and Duterte’s comprehensive health tests in a hospital in Metro Manila. There, neurosurgeons advised Duterte to take a few days’ rest after undergoing an MRI scan although “nothing was seen that should be worrisome.”
Duterte’s experiencing “unbearable pain” while in Japan prompted him to cut short his trip. Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, the President’s constant companion, later said Duterte was experiencing muscle spasms.
These spasms might be the reason again for the Chief Executive’s decision to take a three-day break. There is nothing wrong there, except that the President will just be in Davao City and can still make important decisions in pursuance of his constitutional mandate, so why the need for a caretaker for the executive department?
Sen. Go even tried to make light of the situation by announcing in a radio interview Monday night that while resting in Davao, Duterte will still attend a couple of events in Mindanao, both social and official.
The President’s health is a national security issue and the Filipino people deserve to know the real score. This disclosure is something Malacanang should handle well.