Back from his much-talked-about weekend trip to Hong Kong, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte answered the question on everyone’s minds — does he have cancer?
That’s a no, he said last night after the oathtaking the Malacañang Press Corps’ new officers in the presidential palace.
“I’m not yet cancerous; don’t be afraid to come near me,” he joked, according to The Philippine Star.
Speculations that Duterte was in poor health started again last week after he revealed that he had undergone an endoscopy and colonoscopy in the Cardinal Santos Medical Center. His spokesperson Harry Roque also said last week that a “growth” was found in the president’s digestive tract.
Adding fuel to the rumors was his trip to Hong Kong over the weekend; some thought he went there to seek medical consultations.
Duterte also denied this yesterday and said that he was just there to shop for new clothes because he has gained weight, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
After saying yesterday that he is cancer free, Duterte admitted that his esophagus was “badly eroded” because of his drinking habit. Apparently, he likes to take three shots of brandy before going to bed every night.
Under the constitution, presidents are required to disclose the state of their health to the public.
Now 73, Duterte is the oldest president to be elected in the Philippines, which is why he has been hounded by speculations about his health ever since taking office.
However, Duterte and his allies have always maintained that he is in good health.
“Sorry to disappoint his critics, the President is very healthy and in high spirits. I know for a fact that he is cancer-free,” Go told reporters yesterday.
According to a recent survey by Social Weather Stations, nearly half of Filipinos believe Duterte has health problems.