Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says the Palace is not against issuing bulletins on the president's health in case of serious illness
STAR/Joven Cagande, File
Palace agrees updates on Duterte's health needed 'in case of serious illness'
Ryan Macasero (philstar.com) - December 3, 2018 - 2:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not against issuing bulletin updates on his health, his spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

"The question was whether or not the president should issue medical bulletin in case of serious illness? The president agrees with that,” Panelo told reporters.

He was reacting to senatorial candidates at a forum hosted by CNN Philippines on Sunday who said they are in favor of regular bulletins on the president's health.

“The question was whether or not the president should issue medical bulletin in case of serious illness? The president agrees with that,” Panelo added.

The following senatorial candidates answered 'yes' to the question "Should the president authorize the issuance of medical bulletins about his health?":

  • Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo )
  • Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV
  • Former Corrections chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa
  • Human rights lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno
  • Sen. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito
  • Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile
  • Former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III
  • Former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino

Questions are frequently raised over the state of the 72-year-old president’s health.

In November, Duterte was absent from several meetings during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore in November. Duterte explained that he skipped meetings to take power naps.

"What's wrong with my nap? I don't eat breakfast and I'm sure you know that," Duterte said then.

READ: 'What's wrong with my naps?' says Duterte after skipping ASEAN meetings

According to a Social Weather Stations survey last October, 45 percent of Filipinos believe that Duterte is facing health problems.

In October, he disclosed that he had undergone tests and announced that "it’s my Barrett… It’s badly eroded because I was told to stop drinking years ago." He had previously said that he has a bad case of Barrett's disease, a chronic and usually severe gastrointestinal reflux disease or GERD.

READ: SWS most Pinoys believe Duterte has health problems

Noticeable discoloration of Duterte's skin has also been made an issue after changes in appearance were noted in several public appearances. On November 26, Duterte explained that the discoloration is due to aging. “As you grow old, your skin really darkens,” he said.

Previously, he blamed it on skin creams, the desert air after a visit to Jordan, and weekly visits to military camps.

READ: Duterte explains skin color anew: 'As you grow old, your skin really darkens'

However, when asked by a reporter if that Palace would issue health bulletins, even if the president is not facing a “serious illness,” the spokesperson answered, “no.”

The 1987 Constitution holds that "in case of serious illness of the president, the public shall be informed of the state of his health."  

RODRIGO DUTERTE SALVADOR PANELO
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