Manila, April 14 (IANS) A Philippine lawyer has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to compel the President Rodrigo Duterte to make his medical, physical and psychological reports public.
In his petition, which was accessed by Efe news on Tuesday, Dino De Leon questioned the state of Duterte’s health and cited Section 12 of Article VII of the Constitution, which states that the public should be informed “in case of serious illness of the President”.
While rumours about Duterte’s health have been a matter of speculation since the 2016 presidential election, the lawyer referred to statements made by the President during recent press conferences as an argument to seek his medical reports.
According to De Leon, 75-year-old Duterte made “unintelligible rumblings” during his late-night televised appearances, including a rambling on the Bubonic plague when asked about the availability of COVID-19 test kits in the wake of the epidemic.
“Do we still have a physically and mentally healthy President? Is he still the one making decisions to manage and put an end to the current crisis?” De Leon asked in his petition filed on Monday.
The lawyer also mentioned Duterte’s conspicuous absence from events he was scheduled to attend over the past year, raising questions about his well-being, especially taking into account the numerous ailments the president himself has admitted to suffering from.
Last October, Duterte revealed that he has an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder called myasthenia gravis, a disease he said he had inherited from his grandfather and which was causing one of his eyelids to droop.
Duterte has also admitted to suffering from daily migraines, back problems after a motorcycle accident, Barrett’s oesophagus – a condition which causes abnormal cell growth in the throat – and Buerger’s disease, which affects his blood vessels and is caused by smoking.
In 2018, Duterte said he had been tested for cancer because he had a lump in his digestive tract, but that the results were negative.
According to the Philippine Constitution, if a sitting president dies in office or becomes permanently disabled, the vice president assumes his position for the remainder of the six-year term.