MANILA - Former President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said while President Rodrigo Duterte has to brief his Cabinet about his health, the chief executive need not answer every time it is questioned.
“'Yung (the) Cabinet must be fully aware of the health of the President. That’s mandated by the Constitution," Aquino told reporters during the commemoration of his father former Senator Ninoy Aquino's 35th death anniversary at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.
"Kung walang isyu, kayang-kayang sagutin. Palagay ko naman importante rin 'yun para mapakalma 'yung sambayanan para maging klarong-klaro at maliwanag na maliwanag," he said.
(If there is no issue, that can easily be answered. I think that is also important to calm the people and make it very clear.)
Aquino, who was also rumored to have had health problems during his term, said Duterte does not need to answer questions about his health each time questions are raised.
“Maraming aktibidades ang presidente, maski hindi sagutin 'yung akusasyon ni Joma," he said, referring to Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, who recently claimed that 73-year-old Duterte was in a coma.
(The President has a lot of activities, he can opt not to answer Joma's accusations.)
“Pinaka-test siguro d'yan nung kampanya. Hindi naman ganun kalayo nung kampanya. At may panahon ba na hindi niya nagawa 'yung nga commitments, 'yung mga appearances niya. Wala naman akong narinig na ganun,” added Aquino.
(The best test there is the campaign period. It was not too long ago. Was there a time then that he was not able to fulfill commitments, appearances? I didn't hear any.)
He said while the job of the president is heavy, support from the people usually becomes an "energizer."
Aquino had to deal with speculation about the state of his health during his time as president.
In 2015, at the height of the investigation into the encounter at Mamasapano where 44 state troopers died, Aquino was rumored to have collapsed, but Malacañang officials then insisted that he was healthy.
He was also known to be a chain smoker.
Aquino's successor, Duterte, the oldest to be elected President, is now allegedly sick and dying according to critics, but his spokesperson said the President is "fine and well" back in his hometown of Davao City and is joining the Kadayawan Festival activities.
Duterte also went live on social networking site Facebook on Monday evening where he said it was Sison who is sick, and that the government of the Netherlands, where the communist leader has been in exile, has been complaining because of his hospital bills.
- report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News