MANILA – Malacañang on Monday dismissed the petition filed by a lawyer asking the Supreme Court to compel President Rodrigo Duterte to make public his medical records amid concerns over his handling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
Outgoing Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the petition, which claimed that Duterte looked “physically unwell” in his recent public addresses aired over state-run PTV-4, is “based purely on speculations.”
“The petition filed by a certain lawyer before the Supreme Court to compel PRRD to disclose the results of his medical exams or other health records warrants an outright dismissal,” he said in a statement.
He said the petition does not have any factual or legal bases.
“It is hornbook doctrine that a petition before a court of law cannot be anchored on mere conjectures or surmises,” he added.
Citing Article VII, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution, Panelo said the public shall be informed of the state of the President’s health only if he has a serious illness.
However, he emphasized that such was not the case.
“There is no evidence submitted before the high court that the President is suffering from a serious illness,” he said.
He shrugged off the suit, encouraging the petitioner to improve his knowledge on the law.
“The suit may have been a product of petitioner’s boredom as a result of the enhanced community quarantine. He may instead want to use his time by brushing up his law,” he added.
In a Facebook post on Monday evening, lawyer Dino De Leon said he filed an Extremely Urgent Petition for Mandamus asking the high court to direct Duterte, through the Office of the President and/or Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, to disclose his medical records, undergo confirmatory tests, and release these tests’ results.
“This Extremely Urgent Petition for Mandamus was mainly brought about by my concern as a citizen on the physical and mental fitness of President Duterte to steer the nation as we face the health crisis,” he said.
De Leon said he observed that Duterte’s public appearances to address the nation were “incoherent, unresponsive, and filled with unintelligible rumblings.”
“His pallid condition also did not escape the public’s attention,” he said.
He took note of Duterte’s first report on the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act or Republic Act No. 11469 on March 30, which was “broadcasted during the unholy hours of the night–seven and a half hours late than the announced time–and the same video appeared to have taken at least 21 cuts to tape.”
“The issue on the health of the President is now with the Supreme Court, and I look forward to their swift action, in light of the urgency of the situation,” he said.
Last April 2, Panelo denied rumors that Duterte was confined at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.
Panelo said Duterte is “fit and healthy” and is currently doing his presidential duties at his official residence at the Bahay Pagbabago in Manila.
He also warned the public against false news and information and urged them to trust only reliable sources and official advisories from the Palace.
Last month, Duterte underwent test for the Covid-19 after meeting with some Cabinet members who have direct exposure to a Covid-19 patient. He tested negative.
Duterte is again expected to address the nation on Monday night. (PNA)