MALACANANG took positively a recent poll on President Rodrigo Duterte, which showed that more Filipinos were worried over his health.
The December 2018 survey from pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) only meant that more Filipinos care for the septuagenarian president, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
“We look at these survey results with a positive outlook. It means that not only many Filipinos love the President but those who care for him have increased by 11 percent,” he said in a statement released early Thursday.
“Translated into the number of Filipinos caring for the President, that’s a huge chunk of the population,” he said.
The survey released Wednesday reveals that 66 percent of the respondents were worried about Duterte’s health. Some 34 percent said otherwise.
Some 49 percent of the respondents believed Duterte has health problems, 24 percent do not, and 27 percent were undecided, the same survey shows.
In his statement, Panelo said that “an overwhelming number of Filipinos are praying for his (Duterte) good health, for his well being and for him to finish his term.”
“The sizeable number of Filipinos who worries about PRRD’s health wishes to convey to the President that he remain in robust wealth for the sake of the country and the people,” he added.
The survey, Panelo also said, is a slap on Duterte’s critics and detractors who wished the President ill.
The 1,440 respondents were asked by SWS if they believed Duterte has or has no health problems and if they are worried or not worried about it.
Duterte’s health has been a source of concern from the public. At 73 now, he is the oldest in history elected as Philippine president.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the public should be told about the state of health of a sitting president. If the leader dies in office, is permanently disabled or removed through impeachment, the vice president succeeds to serve the remaining years in a 6-year single term.
Malacanang stood firm in its position that it will only release details of President Rodrigo Duterte’s health status in case of serious illness.
“No. It will not [release a medical bulletin] because the Constitution requires serious illness,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in his regular press briefing.
“The President knows he’s not in serious illness kaya he’s not obligated to release anything about his condition.”
Panelo said Duterte has always been transparent about his health by giving the public an idea of what ails him.
“He is in fact the most transparent president. He keeps on telling us ito ang sakit ko, maysakit ako. Wala nga akong alam na presidenteng ganun. Siya nga ang pinaka-transparent,” the Palace official said.
Malacañang’s comment came after a new Social Weather Stations survey found that 66 percent of Filipinos were worried about Duterte’s health.
“But his body language, his actions, his activities all negate the fear that this man is sick or nearing death or is incapable of continuing [his duties],” Panelo told reporters.
Rumors of Duterte’s health woes re-emerged in October last year after the 73-year-old leader missed two official events, including a meeting with the Cabinet.
Duterte later told his official family that he does not have cancer, after he underwent tests in a private hospital as doctors asked him to repeat digestive track procedures three weeks after similar tests.
Last December, the President disclosed that he had a regular blood test but did not say for what purpose.
Duterte previously revealed that he has Buerger’s disease, a condition that causes constriction of the blood vessels due to nicotine, and Barrett’s esophagus, a disease involving the tissue in the esophagus.