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How likely is it that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gets infected with COVID-19?
The 75-year-old leader of the Southeast Asian country with the highest coronavirus cases is usually cooped up in Malacañang but he sometimes flies home to Davao City and has visited military camps twice during the pandemic. Officials and staff around him are testing positive for the virus.
Rappler’s Pia Ranada talks to lawyer and former dean of the Ateneo School of Government Tony La Viña in this 5th episode of the Seat of Power podcast.
La Viña says the 1987 Constitution requires the President to inform the public if he has a serious illness. For La Viña, “there is no way that a coronavirus diagnosis cannot be considered a serious illness.”
So far, Malacañang has only informed the public of Duterte’s first COVID-19 test result. How many times has the President gotten tested since then?
La Viña reminds listeners that the reason the Constitution has a provision on the Chief Executive’s health is to prevent a recurrence of the Marcos years, when the late dictator was out of the public eye for days, leading to intense speculation about his health.
“The public needs to be assured that the President is in control,” says La Viña.
Listen to other Seat of Power episodes:
- Episode 1: COVID-19 ward doctor assesses Duterte’s pandemic response
- Episode 2: Duterte’s hands all over ABS-CBN franchise rejection
- Episode 3: The frightening future of Duterte’s anti-terror law
- Episode 4: Duterte’s 2020 SONA in 5 minutes
Listen to Rappler’s podcasts on Soundcloud, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.