editorial.6.18.17

A Malacañang photo of President Rodrigo Duterte’s reappearance at Villamor Air Base.


The absence of President Rodrigo Duterte from the public eye for five days last week raised questions and speculations from Filipinos.

According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, the President was unable to attend the Independence Day ceremony at the Luneta because he was resting due to lack of sleep the night before.

When Mr. Duterte re-appeared five days later, his reason was, he made a secret trip to Marawi to assess the situation in that war-torn area.

In the past, Mr. Duterte, now 72, told his audience during a speech, that he might not be able to finish his six-year term.

He said he was still suffering from occasional severe headaches resulting from a motorcycle accident he had years back before he was elected president.

He stated during the campaign in 2016 that he had four non-fatal ailments.

Even ordinary Filipinos interviewed by a local TV station were looking for answers.

“Ano ba talaga?”

(What is it really?)

“Kailangang malaman po natin kung ano talaga ang dahilan,” (We, the people, need to know what was really the reason for his absence).

“Mas maganda kung isang medical doctor ang magpapaliwanag kung ano talaga ang estado ng health ng Pangulo.”

(It is better if a medical doctor will be the one to explain the actual state of health of the President.)

Article VII, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution provides the following:

In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health.

The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.

Attempts on the part of this president to conceal his true health condition, if he is, could lead to political and economic instability in the native country.

Urging the President’s people to disclose Mr. Duterte’s state of health, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said, “The health of the president of any country is not his and his family’s private affair alone. It is a matter of public concern.”

Indeed.

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