It does not matter whether or not the people believe President Rodrigo Duterte has health problems. What matters is the truth, not the belief.
That six in 10 Filipinos believe
, however, that Mr. Duterte’s health is a public matter, and that the people should be informed of “eveything about this,” is something with which we agree. In fact we wonder why the number isn’t higher.
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The survey was conducted between Sept. 15 and Sept. 23, weeks before the public even knew about the latest development in the President’s condition. On Oct. 3, he missed a function, and after his spokesmen said nothing was the matter, the President himself announced that he went to Cardinal Santos Medical Center for tests
. Later we learned doctors were looking into an apparent growth on his digestive tract.
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The President’s candor was such that he said he would refuse treatment if it is discovered that he has third-stage cancer.
The numbers appear to reflect common sense. Indeed a President’s health is a national concern. If he were Citizen Rodrigo Duterte, we would perhaps commiserate with him and wish him well, so that he could live long and fruitfully.
But because he is President Rodrigo Duterte, given a mandate to lead Filipinos for six years, his fate is our fate, too. At stake is the continuity of programs and priorities, and solutions to the ills that stalk us.
We do not have reason to believe that Mr. Duterte himself would deliberately mislead the nation or obfuscate facts for political gain. The people around him, however, may have other ideas to hang on to power just a little longer. His enemies will certainly use the confusion to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt to their own ends.
It’s a high-stakes conversation that must be had now, using plain facts—certainly not innuendo or speculation.