Proof of Life: PH government denies Duterte confined in hospital, posts photo as proof 

President Rodrigo Duterte with former special assistant and incoming senator Christopher “Bong” Go. Photo: Go/ABS-CBN News
President Rodrigo Duterte with former special assistant and incoming senator Christopher “Bong” Go. Photo: Go/ABS-CBN News

The president is all good.

At least that’s what Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s staff said yesterday, amid rumors that he is confined in a hospital in San Juan City.

“There is no truth to the rumor circulating that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is confined in Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“The President is in his residence at the [Malacañang] Palace signing papers. I just talked to him, he is neither confirming nor denying that he went to the hospital.”

Rumors that Duterte had a heart attack and is confined in the Cardinal Santos Medical Center have been circulating on social media.

The president’s health has been the subject of much speculation since last year, caused in large part because of his tendency to disappear from public view for several days at a time.

The last time he was seen in public was on May 13, when he went to his hometown of Davao City to cast his vote in the midterm elections, reported ABS-CBN News. 

It was also yesterday when Duterte’s former special assistant, incoming Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, sent photos to the media showing him with the president inside what Go said was Bahay Pangarap, the chief executive’s official residence in Malacañang Park.

In the photos, Duterte is seen holding a copy of yesterday’s issue of the broadsheet the Philippine Star. 

This is not the first time Duterte has had to prove that he’s still in good shape. In February, he appeared in a Facebook video taken by his partner Honeylet Avanceña in their house in Davao City to prove that he was alive and kicking.

“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,” he even joked in the video.

Duterte does not react well to rumors about his health. In a public speech in February, he even threatened to slap a columnist whom he accused of spreading the rumor that he has cancer. In October, Duterte underwent an endoscopy and colonoscopy, but the President said he tested negative for cancer.

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