Other than Britney Spears’s Manila concert and the saga of the unli-rice, the other pretty (and rather low-key) big deal happening at the moment is the state of President Duterte’s health. Everyone’s been abuzz about it ever since he missed the usual Independence Day rites last Monday and apparently hasn’t been to work since, speculating on whether he’s sick or just needs to take time off.
Everyone, from Duterte’s spokespeople to his assistants to senators are insisting he’s fine, and that he’s entitled to a little rest and recreation after days and days of nonstop work. While we’ll be the first ones to support a day off if he really needs to have one, the Independence Day ceremony was something he could’ve just done and took off right after.
What’s more important, however, is that we the public know if something’s up with Duterte’s health. It’s fine if he really is taking the day off (and he’s up on his feet, as Bong Go’s pictures show), but if there’s something wrong with his health, we have to know.
Section 12. In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health.
Why do we have to know, though? For one thing, so that we know his health isn’t getting in the way of the job he was elected to do. Another is that so everyone could start getting ready for a transition just in case things don’t turn out well. (And obviously, the vice president—Leni Robredo, you know, the one we have right now—is immediately taking over should something happen to Duterte. No ifs or buts.)
While there are some of us who would prefer things to be a certain way, let’s hope that for the sake of the people who trust in and rely on him, the administration isn’t covering anything up.
And if you need to take some time off in your own lives, the president doing so is probably your sign that you should, too.
Photo from the Office of the President and the Philippine Daily Inquirer