Panelo: Plea on disclosure of Duterte health records a product of lockdown boredom
MANILA, Philippines — The petition asking the Supreme Court to compel President Rodrigo Duterte to disclose his health records warrants an “outright dismissal” as it has no legal basis and just a mere “product of boredom” due to the Luzon-wide lockdown, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Monday.
Panelo issued the statement in response to a petition for mandamus filed by Atty. Dino De Leon who asked the Supreme Court to compel Duterte to disclose his latest medical and psychological/psychiatric examination results as well as health bulletins and other health records ever since he assumed the presidency.
According to Panelo, the 1987 Constitution only requires public disclosure of the President’s medical bulletin in case of “a serious illness.”
“Such is not the case here,” Panelo said.
“The suit may have been a product of petitioner’s boredom as a result of the enhanced community quarantine. He may instead want to use his time by brushing up his law,” he added.
In his petition, De Leon cited Duterte’s “incoherent, unresponsive, and filled with unintelligible rumblings”, as well as his “pallid condition,” in his recent public addresses amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“As the country continues to battle the disastrous and multidimensional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is arguably no other more appropriate time than today to assure the Filipino people that their Chief Executive—the very person elected to lead the nation during these trying times—is unquestionably capable to manage the developing and post-crisis situations,” De Leon said in his petition, a part of which was posted in his Facebook account.
But the Palace official stressed that the petition has no legal basis and 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.
Duterte’s state of health has been a recurring issue in his presidency given his advanced age.
The 75-year-old President has admitted publicly that he has, among other things, Buerger’s disease and Barrett’s esophagus, and that had been experiencing occasional headaches and has spinal issues which he attributes to a motorcycle accident when he was 68 years old.
He has also revealed to taking sleeping pills and the highly addictive Fentanyl and to having myasthenia gravis–an autoimmune disease that destroys muscle receptors and can result in the drooping of eyelids, or overall weakness.
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