Public right*

CURRENTLY hot in the minds of some people is the issue on President Duterte’s true state of health, and if he is still capable to lead the country.

Can anyone be blamed for speculating on the subject? The President himself earlier threatened to quit his job supposedly because he is tired and frustrated with corrupt public officials, although this has been a problem for past presidents as well.

More disappointing was his desire to choose his successor since Vice President Leni Robredo is allegedly incapable to do the job. Duterte wanted either the military or former Senator Bongbong Marcos to be his successor.

To many, this was an irresponsible statement coming from the President who should lead by example by following the Constitution on the issue of succession and allowing the vice president to take over if he ever decided to leave his post.

Why should he choose the military when we are clearly not under a junta? Unwittingly, Duterte may have even planted an idea in the minds of the generals to take over the government in the near future. And why should the President choose Marcos when he lost the vice presidency to Robredo? Some people think this was the President’s way of telling the Supreme Court, which is acting as an electoral tribunal, to favor Marcos in his protest against Robredo.

Newly appointed to head it is Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro who, then as an associate justice, voted in favor of burying Bongbong’s father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Based on his own statement, a lot of people believe that the President is more than tired and could possibly be ill. Health is a serious concern especially for a Chief Executive who is tasked to govern an entire nation. He has to make right decisions with full awareness of their consequences.

Remember, Duterte has been talking about quitting the presidency as early as September last year. He went to the hospital allegedly for a checkup on the eve of his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23. Some people believe that the visit was more than just a checkup after supposedly noticing that he was not himself the following day and stuck to the teleprompter as he delivered his SONA, an unusual behavior for the President.

Firing Line believes that it is the right of the people to know the truth. Article VII, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution states that in case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. It is a public right to know that we have a full-functioning president.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.


*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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