The health of the President

Opinion Sideglance

After an earlier denial by his officials that he went to the hospital last Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte came out with an admission that he did in fact went to the hospital for a repeat medical test and most probably sought for a second opinion about the present state of his health.

Such an admission may also support reports that the endoscopy and colonoscopy test he underwent three weeks ago produced an unfavorable diagnosis on his health thus the need for a second opinion through another similar round of medical tests.

Even ordinary citizens of the country who seem doubtful about the medical diagnoses of their health are likely to seek a second opinion as a matter of course.

Of course in this case it is the president of the country who is seeking a second opinion about the results of his previous medical tests. In fact for all intents and purposes he had already admitted during a speech to the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. in Malacanang that he was diagnosed with third stage cancer during his earlier medical tests hence the repeat of the procedure to validate or disprove such diagnosis.

However considering all of the above the only question that matters in so far as his position as president of the country is concerned is whether he retains the capacity and ability to discharge his official functions despite his health condition.

In the 1987 Philippine Constitution it provides in Section 12 thereof that, “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The Members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”

This is what President Duterte has done. Following the law he dutifully informed the public through his speech at the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. gathering that he has sought a second round of medical tests to validate a previous diagnoses that he may have third stage cancer.

His honesty about the condition of his health is to say the least, brutally frank and unblemished, hiding nothing and telling everyone that this is what he is suffering. For that we now realize that indeed, President Duterte may yet turn out to be one of greatest presidents this country will ever have because of his forthrightness and integrity.

The president has repeatedly stated time and again that he is suffering from several ailments and is quite pragmatic about his state of health.

In his speech he even added that if it is indeed third stage cancer that he is now suffering then so be it there will be no denying that fact.

This is what endears the President to the people his brutal honesty that reveals a man unafraid to face the consequences of his actions or what fate has decided for him.