By Mario Casayuran
Allies of President Duterte in the 24-member Senate on Tuesday said President Duterte is a normal person who performs his presidential duties well despite illnesses brought about by his age.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, president of President Duterte’s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party, said fears on the President’s health after disclosing that he has ‘’myasthenia gravis’ is ‘’not enough to affect his productivity or function.’’
Senator Imee R. Marcos said that myasthenia gravis (a nerve disease near the eyes) is common to the elderly.
President Duterte is 74 years old.
‘’Nakakatuwa si Presidente. Pero sa palagay ko matibay sya e. Kahit ano, di naman nya tinatago na may iba’t-ibang sakit na sya, may edad na nga rin and I think he has been quite transparent. Actually hindi naman nya itinatago ang sakit nya. Sinasabi nga nya,’’ Marcos told Senate reporters. (I believe he is strong. He does not hide his ailments. He is in his 70s and I think he has been quite transparent about his health.)
To Pimentel, President Duterte has been telling his allies about his ailments and he has been open about his state of health.
He said that during the political campaign, the President, then Davao city Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, would recall his motorcycle accident that caused injury to his neck and being a smoker, he is suffering from a lung disease.
‘’So he has been very open about the state of his health. Tandaan nyo na he is 70 plus and all I can say is he is a normal 70 plus person na meron na talagang nararamdaman sa katawan,’’ he added. (Remember, he is more than 70 years old and it is normal for a person his age to have those ailments.)
Pimentel, a bar topnotcher like his father, former Senate President Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., said the President, being a lawyer, knows a Constitutional provision that requires the President to tell the people that he is in a serious state of health.
Pimentel asked whether the President’s ailment is serious although he has been conducting foreign policy, he has even gone to and from Russia recently, has visited military camps and has received visitors in Malacanang.
‘’Is that person (President Duterte) having a serious illness? I don’t think so. Actually it’s a judgment call,’’ he added.
‘’Anyway alam na ng presidente yan, lawyer, being a responsible person an ang oath of office as president, kung meron na siyang nararamdaman na seryoso na talaga siya, ipapapaalam nya sa bayan,’’ he added. (President, being a lawyer, will reveal to the Filipino people if he is seriously ill.)