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‘Rumors on Rody’s health part of destab plot’

“Unfortunately, some of those who are inquiring as to the state of his health were clearly engaged in misinformation or disinformation to mislead the public with the end in view of destabilizing the government,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II alleged in an exclusive interview with The STAR, noting that he personally received queries about the President’s health. File

MANILA, Philippines - For Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, the recent rumors on the health of President Duterte were just another part of a grand plot to destabilize the administration.

He described as “malicious speculations” the information that circulated last week saying Duterte was seriously ill and has been confined in hospital partly paralyzed.

“Unfortunately, some of those who are inquiring as to the state of his health were clearly engaged in misinformation or disinformation to mislead the public with the end in view of destabilizing the government,” Aguirre alleged in an exclusive interview with The STAR, noting that he personally received queries about the President’s health.

He cited the wrong information that circulated before the weekend that Cabinet members were set to fly to Davao for an emergency meeting.

“They wanted to create the wrong impression that President Duterte was in serious health condition, which is farthest from the truth,” he pointed out, adding there was no such emergency meeting.

No need for health disclosure

Aguirre also rejected demands from opposition lawmakers led by Sen. Leila de Lima for the Palace to disclose the status of the President’s health following his weeklong absence from the public eye since the 119th Independence Day celebrations.

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De Lima cited Article VII, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution in invoking the obligation of government officials to apprise the public about the president’s state of health as a matter of national security.

Aguirre believes, however, that De Lima misinterpreted the law.

“It is not required by the Constitution to always disclose the health of the President. It is only in cases of serious illness that the President is required to disclose his illness, which isn’t the case with President Duterte,” he explained.

Duterte, according to Aguirre, just took some rest after a “very rigorous schedule in the past several weeks” and has already appeared before the public over the weekend.

Aguirre previously announced in several instances an alleged grand plot to destabilize the Duterte administration, like the opposition lawmakers’ filing of complaint against the Chief Executive before the International Criminal Court over his bloody drug war and their allegations of his involvement in the Davao death squad killings when he was still city mayor.

More recently, the justice chief also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the alleged link of opposition lawmakers to the Marawi siege based on information – which turned out to be false – that they met with several clans in the city prior to the attack of the Maute group last May 23.

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