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SC urged to compel Palace to bare Duterte's medical records

A lawyer has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to compel Malacañang to disclose President Rodrigo Duterte's medical records.

In a petition filed Monday, Dino de Leon asked the SC to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the Office of the President or Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to disclose "copies of the latest medical and psychological/psychiatric examination results, health bulletins, and other health records of the President" since he assumed office.

He also wants the president compelled to submit to additional confirmatory medical and psychological/psychiatric examinations and to release the results to the public as soon as they are available.

De Leon said Duterte's public addresses on the COVID-19 emergency were "incoherent, unresponsive, and filled with unintelligible rumblings," also pointing out his "pallid condition" and his appearance of being "physically unwell."

The lawyer also noted that the president "has noticeably disappeared from the public from time to time" even before the COVID-19 crisis emerged.

Section 12, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution requires the disclosure of the state of the president's health in case of "serious illness."

In his petition, De Leon cited the president as having admitted to suffering from Buerger's disease, Barrett's esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, spinal issues, daily migraines, and myasthenia gravis.

He also cited a report as saying Duterte was diagnosed with "antisocial narcissistic personality disorder."

"Considering the numerous indications above that all show that there is reasonable basis to be worried about the health of the President, coupled with description in reputable and learned medical sources of the serious illnesses of the President, it will be wrong and irresponsible to completely and absolutely rely on the word of Secretary Panelo that there is a 'lack of serious illnesses as stated by the Constitution,'" De Leon said.

A lawyer of almost five years, De Leon said there is "no harm" in a public disclosure of the president's health records.

"The first scenario is that the President is actually physically and mentally healthy, and the release of the requested medical records will assure the public of his physical and mental fitness to handle the crisis. There is an obvious benefit to this, as this will make the public feel more safe and secure," he said in the petition.

"The other scenario, which is the worst case, is that the President is actually suffering from serious illnesses, which means that the public should be informed of the situation, as commanded by the Constitution," he added.

He said the request for Duterte's health records is in line with the public's right to be informed of matters that affect them. He also argued that the president has a "minimal expectation of privacy when it comes to his physical and mental health."

"It is not too much to ask him to inform the public of the status of his health, especially considering his pre-existing serious medical and psychological issues," De Leon said. -NB, GMA News

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