Duterte appears in Facebook videos to prove he’s still alive, amid widespread speculation of ill health

Photo: Screenshot from Honeylet Avanceña’s Facebook video
Photo: Screenshot from Honeylet Avanceña’s Facebook video

Worry not, folks — the president is well. He’s even got the videos to prove it.

President Rodrigo Duterte appeared yesterday in a Facebook video taken by his partner Honeylet Avanceña to show that he’s still alive.

The president’s health has been the subject of much speculation since last year, in large part caused by his tendency to disappear from public view for several days at a time. The rumor that he was ill surfaced again after he didn’t show up for a scheduled appearance to the Barangay (Village) Summit on Peace and Order in Palo, Leyte on Friday afternoon.

ABS-CBN reported that Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former Special Assistant, said that the President didn’t show up for the event because he was “not feeling well.”

However, Duterte appeared to be doing fine, at least based on the videos taken by Avanceña. In one clip, he even joked: “All those who believed in the news that I passed away, I request of (sic) you to please pray for the eternal repose of my soul. Thank you.”


In another clip, he said: “My reaction to my passing away, I will ask God first if he’s available for an interview.”

In another video, Duterte and Avanceña showed a copy of yesterday’s issue of the newspaper Philippine Star to prove that the video was current. 

The Philippine Star reported that Duterte’s last public appearance was on Tuesday when he attended the premiere night of the movie based on the life of his former police chief Ronald “Bato (Rock)dela Rosa.

READ: Former PH police chief’s biopic to get tax incentive amid calls for boycott

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that people are spreading rumors about the President’s health to create anxiety among his supporters.

Panelo said in a statement: “Obviously the intention is to bring anxiety and apprehension to the majority of the Filipinos who believe and admire his (Duterte) unorthodox but effective type of governance.”

Panelo added: “The President is conscientious of his health and he puts a break to his activities if he feels his body is not up to it. In other words, he knows how to take care of himself and does not perform any activity beyond what is necessary or is harmful to his physical being.”

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also told reporters that Duterte is “OK,” while also saying that he’s not in the peak of health all the time. 

Medialdea said: “He is OK and ready to rumble. He’s not Superman. He’s a human being who sometimes does ‘not feel well.'”

In October, Duterte underwent an endoscopy and colonoscopy, but the President said he tested negative for cancer.

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