MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo is not keen on pushing for the public disclosure of President Rodrigo Duterte’s state of health, saying they trust what the President says about the results of his medical tests.
"We respect his declaration,” said Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez on Tuesday, October 9.
Duterte told his Cabinet members in a meeting Monday night that his recent medical tests came back negative for cancer.
Gutierrez said it’s up to the President to decide when to disclose his state of health.
“The Vice President understands that the President also took the oath, he understands the Constitution, and he should know his obligations under the Constitution with respect to disclosure on his true state of health,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez added in Filipino: "We are happy that the President is well. The VP has said that it's clear nobody wants the President to be sick, we want him healthy, we want him working. So if he says it's like that, then I suppose we must respect it."
State of health
Duterte had revealed undergoing endoscopy or colonoscopy, where doctors found a “growth.” Duterte said he would inform the public if he has cancer.
The 1987 Constitution states that the President must disclose the state of his health if he has a "serious illness." (READ: President's health: Touchy topic for Duterte, public concern for Constitution)
Asked for his legal opinion, Solicitor General Jose Calida dismissed the topic.
“That’s not the business of the Solicitor General to find out the health of anybody,” Calida said also on Tuesday, adding that “I’m not a busybody, I mind my own business.”
Section 8, Article VII, of the 1987 Constitution says the vice president shall serve as the president “in case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation” of the latter. The VP will serve only the president's unexpired term.
When Duterte revealed he had undergone colonoscopy, the President said he wouldn’t want Robredo to take over the presidency because “she is really weak.” The Vice President responded, saying the President should just get to work instead of insulting her.
On Monday, it was revealed that the draft constitution authored by House Speaker Gloria Arroyo skipped the Vice President in the line of succession during the proposed transition to a federal system.
“To introduce an amendment, they need 3/4 vote in both the House and the Senate, and I’m confident we have enough right-thinking senators who will not follow that kind of proposal,” Gutierrez said.