Is President Rodrigo Duterte physically fit to finish his term as chief executive?
As the public grapples with the president’s confession last night that his Barrett’s esophagus could possibly develop to stage one cancer, in comes Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque saying today that, well, Duterte is actually perfectly healthy.
So we should probably just ignore what PRRD said.
In true Roque fashion, he blamed Filipinos for supposedly misinterpreting his boss’ announcement yesterday.
“People are putting too much meaning on his statement. I think that advice was given to him a long time ago when the President was still drinking. He has since stopped drinking and as far as I know since he became President he has not resumed drinking,” Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“So you’re talking of medical advice that happened many years ago, even prior to the presidency. And I think the reason why the President precisely stopped drinking was to prevent it from developing into stage one cancer. That is the context of what the President said,” Roque explained.
Duterte said in his speech that he had been told by his doctor to stop drinking because his Barret’s esophagus could possibly lead to cancer. He has long had this illness, along with myasthenia gravis, Buerger’s disease, and “daily” migraines. Despite suffering through all these ailments, his administration has constantly refused to provide a medical bulletin, as mandated by the constitution.
Last night’s confession isn’t new. Duterte has a propensity to publicly complain about his health troubles. However, he doesn’t appreciate it when other people talk about it — in February 2019, the president even threatened to maul a newspaper columnist for saying that he went to a Guangzhou cancer hospital to seek treatment.
Anyway, Roque assured everyone today that Duterte has stopped imbibing alcohol, ergo, he doesn’t have cancer.
“I guess rephrasing what the president said, he almost had cancer if he did not stop drinking. But he has since stopped drinking,” the spokesman said.
“He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he has no vices as president because he wants to be in good and healthy condition…So far he is okay. As far as I know, there is no cancer. As I said, if there is cancer, he will be reporting it to the people,” Roque said.
This article, Fit to Lead? Malacañang insists Duterte has ‘no cancer’ despite public confession, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!