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Calida assures public on Duterte’s health

Solicitor General Jose Calida assured the public on Wednesday that President Duterte is doing his job and there is no need to be concerned over the chief executive’s state of health.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on August 17, 2020.

“The Office of the President is not obligated to report on the state of the President’s health because he is free from any serious illness, in accordance with Section 12, Article VII of the Constitution,” Calida said.

“In fact, the President has been effectively performing his role as the nation’s leader despite known and well publicized medical conditions that he acquired even before his incumbency,” he added.

The solicitor general issued the statement in response to the Aug. 15 Facebook post of Segundo Romero titled “the Presidency in Crisis is a Nation in Peril” which described the President as incapacitated and called for an independent assessment of his physical and mental soundness.

Romero also urged Duterte to relinquish control of the government to Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

“The President, just like every citizen, has the right to privacy protected under the Constitution. Being the highest official of the Republic does not mean that he no longer has an expectation of privacy. Being a public figure does not automatically destroy a person’s right to privacy,” Calida said

“As the state of his health is a personal matter, the President has the right to determine for himself whether to disclose any information on his health. So, as long as he is free from serious illness, any information on his health is entitled to privacy,” he added.

Reminding that freedom of speech is not absolute, Calida warned Romero that the Facebook post “fits the definition of libel in that his statements impute a vice or defect on the President which tends to cause dishonor, discredit, or contempt of his person.”

“Indeed, Mr. Romero’s post serves nothing more than to instill panic based on mere speculation,” the solicitor general said.

Calida said speculations on Duterte’s health “distract the government’s efforts in addressing more pressing public health and social issues.”

“During this pandemic, it is the height of imprudence to debate on the President’s health condition when the top priority should be the health of each and every Filipino,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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