Bare Duterte’s state of health, bishop asks gov’t
Amid President Duterte’s frequent absences, a Catholic bishop urged the government to make public the President’s real state of health.
Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani pointed out that keeping the public informed of Duterte’s health was “a public concern.”
“It’s not simply the concern of a private person, it is a matter of the public good,” Bacani said in an interview with Church-run Radio Veritas.
The prelate made the appeal to Malacañang amid the President’s frequent disappearances from the public eye, triggering speculations that he might be seriously ill.
Mr. Duterte was absent during the Independence Day celebrations last June 12. He re-appeared only on June 17 but became incognito again from June 21 to June 26.
Malacañang said the President was just “tired” and needed to rest, prompting Bacani to say: “The public good is involved here. If our President is ill and not healthy, we will do our part in helping him.”
The 1987 Constitution mandates that “in case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health.”
“Let us offer our prayers to God that His will for him and the country be done,” Bacani said, appealing for prayers for Mr. Duterte’s continued good health.
At the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum, Sen. Francis Escudero said the President was not required to appear in public most of the time.
“The President, like any secretary who is his alter ego, does not [report from] 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. He may report to the Palace once a week just as long as he does his duties such as sign papers and make decisions on certain matters,” said Escudero.
“Maybe in a few months … we will get used to this [setup] and we will not doubt or make stories that he is sick or is dying because we just don’t see him,” Escudero said.
But Escudero said the Palace had an obligation to inform the people about the status of the President’s health for the sake of transparency.
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