Malacañang says SC petition on Duterte's health merits 'outright dismissal'

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday, April 13, brushed aside a petition filed at the Supreme Court seeking to compel President Rodrigo Duterte to disclose his state of health to the public as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday insisted the petition "warrants an outright dismissal" as it had no factual or legal basis. 

"The allegations arising therefrom are based purely on speculations. It is hornbook doctrine that a petition before a court of law cannot be anchored on mere conjectures or surmises," Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo issued the remarks in response to lawyer Dino de Leon’s move requesting the High Court to ask Duterte to disclose his latest psychological examination results, health bulletins, and other medical records. 

In his petition, De Leon invoked Section 12, Article VII of the Constitution which says that: "In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health." 

De Leon asked the Supreme Court to do so, describing Duterte’s late night press conferences where the latter spoke "gibberish," "drunken monologue" and was "hardly lucid” was an issue that "can no longer be simply swept under the rug." 

Panelo refuted De Leon’s, citing the same Article VII, Section 12 of the Constitution, asserting Duterte did not need to disclose his state of health as he was not suffering from a serious illness.  

"Such is not the case here. There is no evidence submitted before the high court that the President is suffering from a serious illness," he said.

Panelo tossed the petition aside as a “product of boredom” from the Luzon coronavirus lockdown put in place since March 17.

Duterte, who is 75 years old, claimed he suffers from a slew of medical conditions that include myasthenia gravis, Buerger's disease, Barrett's esophagus, and "spinal issues," among others.  

In 2018, Duterte also said he tested for cancer but that it came back negative. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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