‘Duterte has no cancer’

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on Monday, August 24. | Malacañang photo by Robinson Niñal

Palace considering live press briefing to dispel health rumors

Malacañang on Thursday, August 27, said it is considering the possibility of holding a live press briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte to dismiss speculations over his health.

“We’re talking about it,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said when asked if the president was willing to hold a live press briefing.

“Again, he (Duterte) is a lawyer, he knows his obligation, he took an oath as a lawyer and as president to uphold the laws of the land and the Constitution. And the Constitution only says, if there is a serious illness is there an obligation to reveal to the public the details of his health condition,” he added.

In a taped address aired on Tuesday, August 25, Duterte said that his doctor advised him to quit drinking alcohol because his Barrettâ’s esophagus was “nearing stage ‘one cancer.”

“Matagal na kami sa gobyerno, magpa-retire na lang, bakit pa namin pagsayangan? Kakaunting panahon na lang ang naiwan so walang-wala nang ganang kumain (We have been in government for long. We are nearing retirement. Why would we waste it? We have a short time left, so we no longer have the appetite to eat),” he said.

“May pera ka naman, hindi ka na makakain kaya sabi ng doktor huwag kang kumain ng taba kasi mamatay ka. Ikaw Duterte, huwag ka nang uminom kasi ‘yang Barrett mo nearing stage one ka sa cancer (You have money, but you cannot eat because the doctor said stop eating fatty food because you will die. You, Duterte, refrain from drinking alcohol because your Barrett’s is nearing stage one cancer),” he added.

However, Roque stressed that the advice was given to the president a “long time ago.”

The spokesperson also maintained that Duterte is “fit and healthy” for his age.

“So far, he is okay. As far as I know, there is no cancer,” Roque told CNN Philippines.

“And, as I have said, if there is cancer and if it is a serious illness, he will be reporting it to the people,” the spokesperson added. “He is fit and healthy for a person his age.”

Roque also assured that Duterte will be transparent if his condition was serious.

“I don’t think the people should worry about lack of transparency, because the President himself will say what his condition is. But as of now, there’s really no serious condition,” he said.

“The Constitution only says, if there is a serious illness, there is an obligation to reveal to the public the details of his health condition. So susundin po iyan ng Presidente (the President will follow that),” he added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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