Thursday, January 2, 2020

'Not feeling well': Duterte foregoes visits to quake victims

President Rodrigo Duterte canceled his scheduled visits to the municipalities on Malalag and Padada in Davao del Sur after it was reported that he was not feeling well.

The two towns were among those most damaged by the magnitude 6.9 quake that struck the region on December 15.
Three of the nine recorded casualties in the aftermath of the quake were from Padada where a grocery store collapsed.

Immediately after the quake struck, numerous conflicting reports about what the president was doing at the time were released.
“It’s just ordinary. Ano lang ‘yon, masama ang pakiramdam ng isang 74 years old,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a press briefing on Thursday.
“'Pag kulang ang tulog mo, natural lang ‘yon. But after that, tomorrow, okay na naman ‘yon."

(It’s just ordinary. It’s just a 74-year-old not feeling well. If you lack sleep, that’s natural. But after that, tomorrow, he will be okay.)

The nation's charter stipulates that the public be informed about the Chief Executive's health. Section 12 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution reads:

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.
So far, though, the public has seemed to rely almost solely on the word of Duterte himself and his spokesmen about the real state of his health.

READ: Back pain from motorcycle mishap adds to Duterte's litany of health issues | Fact check: Duterte says Constitution doesn't require health disclosure
But the Palace often downplays any doubts surrounding the president's well-being. They often put out press releases asserting that Duterte was "fine."

Earlier in 2019, Duterte also admitted to having Myasthenia gravis, a rare chronic and neuromuscular affliction that results in the weakness of muscles involved in eye control and facial movement.