The Supreme Court has upheld with finality its decision dismissing a lawyer’s petition seeking to compel Malacañang to disclose President Rodrigo Duterte’s health records.
The high court denied the appeal filed by Dino de Leon for his failure to present a “substantial argument to support a case for mandamus.”
The magistrates, meeting as a group, said De Leon raised no new arguments that would convince them to reverse their ruling to dismiss his petition.
The high court said De Leon failed to show that disclosing the President’s health records was a “ministerial duty” of Malacañang, and that he had a “clear legal right” to demand its performance.
“The Resolution dated May 8, 2020, dismissing the Extremely Urgent Petition for Mandamus is deemed final. No further pleadings or motions shall be entertained in this case,” the high court said in a resolution dated Sept. 8, 2020.
In April, De Leon petitioned the Court to compel the Office of the President to release to the public Duterte’s health records, claiming he appeared unwell in his public addresses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also cited the illnesses that Duterte had admitted to having: Buerger’s disease, Barrett’s esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, spinal issues, daily migraines and myasthenia gravis.
But the high court dismissed his petition in May without requiring the government to comment, saying his claims of the President’s serious illness were “unsubstantiated.”
De Leon later returned to press the justices to act after Duterte said his doctor had advised him to stop drinking because his Barret’s esophagus was “nearing” stage one cancer.
The 75-year-old Duterte made the statement in August as he assured the people that he and the other members of the Cabinet were old enough to know better than to dip their hands into the government’s COVID-19 response fund.
Duterte had earlier denied being brought to Singapore for emergency treatment. His former aide, Senator Christopher Go, slammed the speculations that Duterte was unwell by sharing a photo of the President eating with his family.
“Stop this nonsense of me going to Singapore, if at all. It is none of your business if I want to go,” Duterte said.
“I am under no obligation to travel in secret and not tell the republic at all. I am a citizen of the republic and my right to travel is guaranteed.”