SC junks with finality petition for Duterte’s health records disclosure

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The Supreme Court has denied with finality the bid to compel President Rodrigo Duterte to disclose his health records to the public.

The high court released a resolution dismissing the motion for reconsideration filed by lawyer Dino De Leon, saying the same arguments have been “judiciously considered.”

“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.”

De Leon had argued in his plea for reconsideration that the high court in effect deprived the Filipino people of due process when it dismissed his petition outright. He asked SC to hold oral arguments instead.

In response, the Supreme Court rehashed its earlier ruling that De Leon has not established a legal right to demand the disclosure of the President’s medical records. 

“He failed to establish a legal right that was violated by respondents. Specifically, he was unsuccessful in showing that: (1) the reliefs he sought, i.e., to compel the President to (a) disclose his state of health, and (b) subject himself to further confirmatory medical and psychological/psychiatric examinations which shall be publicly disclosed in order to ensure the accuracy of the health records to be released, constitute ministerial duties on the part of respondents; and (2) there is a clear legal right on his part to demand the performance of these ministerial duties,” the high court said.

Two Supreme Court justices dissented to the 13-2 ruling.

Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa said dismissing the petition outright was “truly perplexing” while Associate Justice Marvic Leonen voiced his “discomfort” at the decision of the majority, warning that it could undermine the independence of the court.