MANILA- The discarded petition that sought to compel President Rodrigo Duterte to disclose his health records was only meant to distract the chief executive from his duties, Malacañang said Friday after the Supreme Court threw out the plea.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the petition also targeted public confidence on Duterte's leadership especially as the country battled the coronavirus pandemic.
"We believe it is designed to distract the President from his job and erode the confidence of the Filipinos to [President Duterte's] leadership particularly in this time when we are confronted with extreme health crisis," Roque said in a statement.
"We maintain that the petition has no legal and factual bases," he added.
The high court on Friday dismissed the petition filed by lawyer Dino de Leon without requiring the respondents to comment.
The petition, filed on April 13, had sought to direct President Duterte to disclose within 7 days his latest medical and psychological/psychiatric exam results, health bulletins and other health records since he assumed office.
It cited the President’s “incoherent, unresponsive…unintelligible rumblings” and his “drunken monologue” during his late-night press conferences as signs he may not be fit enough to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte, who turned 75 in March, is the oldest to ever be elected Philippine President in history.
Duterte's chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo added that the plea was "obviously a groundless petition deserving of an outright dismissal from the Supreme Court."
"He is a very transparent President, he tells us what ails him if he feels unwell," Panelo said.
Following the Supreme Court's decision, the Palace assured the public that the President continues to lead the country's pandemic response.
"President Duterte continues to attend to the affairs of the State as he monitors developments in the country, particularly the COVID-19 situation, and gives instructions to his Cabinet members on various efforts to fight this global health scare," Roque said.