DOJ chief: Duterte need not divulge health status if work is not affected
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte need not divulge his state of health unless it is serious enough that he is no longer capable of performing his mandate, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday.
Over the weekend, rumors spread in social media that the President was admitted to a hospital after suffering a stroke while some social media posts claimed that it was due to a heart attack.
The President’s critics were quick to react, calling for a full disclosure of the President’s health condition.
Malacañang denied the rumors and showed photos of the President and former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go reading newspapers.
Guevarra said that while the 1987 Constitution requires the President to divulge any serious illness, it only applies to cases when the President is no longer capable of performing his official functions.
“The Constitution requires the President to divulge any serious illness on his part. If the illness is not serious enough to affect the discharge of his official functions, the President has not a duty to inform anyone,” he said.
He pointed out that the President is not seriously ill and is capable of performing his functions; thus, “like any citizen, the President enjoys the right to privacy under the Constitution.”
However, DOJ said those who spread the rumor cannot be held accountable under the law.
“During martial law era, there was a presidential decree that criminalized rumor-mongering, but it was already repealed,” Guevarra said.
He added that the rumors are mere “political propaganda” that should not be dignified. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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