MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is "fit and healthy" to lead the Philippines in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, his chief legal counsel said Tuesday.
Salvador Panelo, former spokesman of the President, made the remark after a lawyer asked the Supreme Court to compel the 75-year-old chief executive to disclose his latest medical, psychological and psychiatric exam results, health bulletins, and other health records.
"The President is fit and healthy. He has told us his diseases," Panelo told ANC when asked about the medical condition of the President and if he is able to lead the country in combating the pandemic.
"The President has been telling us exactly what sickness he has and these are not serious illnesses. It would be very evident for the public to know if he has a serious illness by just looking at him."
Lawyer Dino de Leon in a petition noted Duterte’s "pallid condition" in his latest appearances, calling his statements "incoherent, unresponsive, and filled with unintelligible rumblings."
He claimed the President seems to be physically unwell, his statements resembling those of a "drunken monologue."
Panelo, however, said it was just the "style of the President."
"When he responds, he gives you a specific then he branches out when he remember something to tell the public then he goes back to the same thing. That’s his style," he said.
"That’s why I've been telling the media, you listen very carefully to this man because he has a different style of expressing himself."
Panelo added that the President's late-night report last month on the pandemic, criticized for airing after 8 hours of delay and for supposedly lacking details, was "tentatively set at a particular time."
"That allegation of a conference starting late - why should that be a cause of concern? Subsequent to that I issued statement that the President cannot do it because he was still conferring with heads of agencies regarding the situation. How can that be a ground for saying that he has serious illness," he said."