SECTION 12, Article 7 (Executive Department) of the 1987 Constitution states: “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The Members of the Cabinet in charge of the national security and foreign relations and the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”
That is for the country’s chief executive. But there is no law equivalent to this constitutional provision for our local officials. But can we adopt this particular provision to our local chief executives like governors and mayors so that they, as elected officials, will also inform the public and their respective sangguniangs (provincial board, city and minunipal councils) about their state of health? Maybe the framers of our Local Government Code of the Philippines, which is the “Bible” of all local officials and local government units, (province, city, municipality and barangay) have overlooked this aspect.
I am raising this issue in view of the “mysterious health condition” of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella. I said “mysterious” because until now nobody knows the real health condition of the mayor except perhaps his immediately family members and some of his trusted people at City Hall.
Why do these people keep the mayor from the public eye? Is it because of their personal interest and hidden agenda? Oh come on, please don’t fool the Cebuanos who supported and voted for Mayor Labella last 2019 elections. They deserve to know about the health condition of our beloved mayor.
Are these people afraid that once the public will know about the real health condition of the mayor and that he is no longer effective and capable in managing the affairs of the city, they will be eased out from their “juicy positions” at City Hall because the minions of Vice Mayor Mike Rama will then take over? Have their vested and selfish interests prevailed over the interest of the public? Are they aware that by doing so, they committed a grave sin to the Lord and to the public by exploiting the “weakness” of the mayor? They are making him a robot and they are torturing the mayor by making his life miserable. If this is true, I pity the mayor and I can only sympathize with him. That is why I want him to come out in the open and divulge his real state of health.
I might be presumptuous but my suspicion is that Mayor Labella is seriously ill.
A source close to the mayor said the hizzoner suffered a stroke during his confinement last month and that his speech has been affected. He can no longer talk straight. His lower extremities are so weak that he can no longer stand. But his son, Jaypee, said his father is in good shape and in the process of recovering. Okay, I take Jaypee’s word as “gospel truth.”
But if Mayor EdLab is in the process of recovering and even on a wheelchair, why can’t he appear in public or hold a virtual press conference like what he did before? Or even come up with a recorded video statement. The people will understand if he will work from home but is he already incapacitated?
Before he was hospitalized last July, he would frequently text me during my radio program. He would react to my commentaries about City Hall and sometimes asked me to announce his scheduled activities like the distribution of the financial assistance for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. But now, he is no longer doing it. I texted him when he was discharged from the hospital to wish him “good luck” but I received no answer. I asked from his circle of friends and even from his political allies about his condition and they shared the same sentiments, that they are not updated on the condition of the mayor.
Okay, the mayor is alive but what about his mental capability? A stroke can change your thinking and memory, and also how you see, hear and feel the world. This can affect how you feel about yourself, your family and friends. Stroke impacts the brain and the brain controls our behavior and emotions. Symptoms of memory loss after a stroke may include confusion or problems with short-term memory.
So, again to dispel rumors and speculations that Labella is seriously ill or incapacitated, I will re-echo the “cry” of Vice Mayor Mike Rama before, when he said, “I want to see my mayor.” I would like to say, “I want to see our mayor, even just virtually.”