Justice chief: President can be silent on health

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said that President Rodrigo Duterte is not required to publicly disclose his state of health.

Guevarra issued the statement after reports over the weekend said that he allegedly suffered a stroke and was brought to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

The DOJ head pointed out that while the 1987 Constitution requires the President to divulge any serious sickness, 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 no duty to inform anyone,” Guevarra stressed.

Since Duterte is not seriously ill and remains capable of performing his functions, the status of his health is still covered by his right to privacy, he continued.

“Like any citizen, the President enjoys the right to privacy under the Constitution,” he pointed out.

Malacañang belied the reports of his serious illness and released photos of the President with his former special assistant and presumptive Senator Bong Go last Sunday while in Bahay Pagbabago inside Malacañang.

Duterte re-emerges

President Duterte made his first appearance yesterday after a weeklong absence from the public eye.

Duterte welcomed Thailand Ambassador to the Philippines Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng in Malacañang during his presentation of credentials.

Speculations swirled that Duterte was seriously ill after he was out of the public eye for a week.

Malacañang officials have said there was nothing wrong with Duterte.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte was “strong” and “upbeat.”

Duterte’s absences in the past have sparked rumors about his deteriorating health.

The 74-year-old chief executive earlier admitted that he suffers from Buerger’s disease, migraine, and back pains reportedly caused by smoking during his youth.

He also revealed that he had colonoscopy and endoscopy and that he has been undergoing regular blood tests.