No, Mayor Duterte didn’t have a stroke
As a rejoinder to our column last week regarding the importance of the next president being in good health, we’d just like to clarify a few things which were apparently misinterpreted by some readers.
First, we never said that Mayor Rody Duterte had a stroke when he skipped a major speaking engagement because of “severe migraine headache.” What we said though was that if the symptom—severe headache—was severe enough to warrant confinement in a hospital, a thorough clinical evaluation aided by appropriate laboratory workups should have been done; and these we’re sure were done. The popular mayor should have allowed his attending physician to explain to the media and the public their findings, however benign they might be.
Aspiring to be the president of a nation requires full disclosure of everything that might affect one’s ability and physical and mental fitness to govern, and make crucial decisions for the country.
If the medical experts who attended to Mayor Duterte would certify and officially declare to the public that based on their comprehensive evaluation, there was nothing to indicate that it was anything serious, and that the mayor does not have a high risk of developing any serious or potentially life-threatening medical condition at least in the next three to five years, then it would reassure the public that he’s not hiding anything insofar as his medical condition is concerned. His camp’s refusal to release the medical bulletin only fans speculations that there was more to the headache than a simple migraine.
Secondly, we maintain that a president with a heavy ailment baggage on his or her shoulder can never be the kind of exemplary leader our country needs especially at this crucial point. This is so despite his/her competence, track record, integrity and all the lofty intentions he/she might have in serving the country. If we may paraphrase an old saying—the way to chaos and retrogression of a nation is paved with a lot of good intentions. Only a hale and hearty leader can rally his/her people to advance forward. A leader can never do that from his/her sickbed.
As reader Felipe Soriano put it: “A healthy mind in a healthy body—‘Mens sana in corpore sano.’ The intelligent mind depends on a healthy body to function well. If health is a prerequisite to employment for the lowliest job, what more for the loftiest job where the welfare of 100 million Filipinos depends on.”
With all the rumors flying wild about the significant health liabilities of some of our candidates—Sen. Miriam
Defensor Santiago having terminal Stage 4 lung cancer, Mayor Duterte having a high cardiovascular risk to develop a stroke or heart attack, Vice President Jojo Binay having end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis—the only way to dispel all these rumors is for the camps of these candidates to release an official medical bulletin certified by credible medical experts, ideally independent of the candidates’ own personal physicians, and attested to by the reputable medical institutions where all the tests and clinical evaluation were done.
This is the only way this issue could settle down. Otherwise these health concerns can remain a pestering baggage that will continue to burden the concerned candidates all throughout the campaign period.
The least we want to happen is to have a repeat of the Roy Señeres case in the remaining five presidential candidates. The late Representative Señeres looked healthy and strong enough, perhaps energized by the endorphins and other thrill hormones released when one is enthused and excited… only to realize too late that his spirit was so willing, but his body was quite weak already to handle the stresses of a presidential campaign.