President Rodrigo Duterte, despite his age and health problems, can still “effectively” fulfill his mandate to serve and protect the Filipino people, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after the December 13-16 poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that 72 percent of adult Filipinos are “worried” about the 74-year-old President’s health condition.
Panelo said the SWS survey results merely showed that majority of Filipinos “love” the President who is doing his best to live up to his promises to bring a real change to the country.
“I think it’s a given that any citizenry in a particular country should be interested and be worried about any state of health that the head of state has,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
“But of course, we’re glad that people are worried, because it only means that they love the President. He may not be as strong as a bull like you, much younger, but certainly he can still function effectively as President,” Panelo added.
Results of the SWS poll found out that 25 percent of adult Filipinos worried a “great deal” while 47 percent were “somewhat worried” about the real status of Duterte’s health.
The same survey also revealed that 61 percent said Duterte’s health is a “public matter,” thus the people need to be informed about his condition.
Panelo, however, said there was no need to worry since the Chief Executive has been very transparent about his health status.
“In the particular case of the President, he keeps on telling us exactly what he feels, he tells us his sufferings on particular illnesses that he got, arising from accidents,” he said.
“In other words, he has not hidden (or) kept from us anything that involves his health. He tells us. Even when he goes to the doctors for examination,” Panelo added.
There have been persistent calls for transparency on Duterte’s health.
Section 12 of Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution mandates the President to inform the public of his health, “in case of serious illness.”
In November 2018, Duterte admitted that his age and ailments are taking a toll on his health, but assured the public that he is still fit to work.
Duterte has announced to the public that he has muscle spasms, chronic back pains, and migraines.
He is also suffering from myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that weakens skeletal muscles responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body.
The President also has Barrett’s esophagus, a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Buerger’s disease, a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
In October 2018, Duterte also told the nation that the supposed “growth” found in his digestive tract tested negative for cancer. (PNA)