MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday categorically denied that he is afflicted with cancer.
“Sa awa ng Diyos, wala naman,” Duterte said in a speech at the housing summit of the National Housing Authority in Quezon City, recalling an earlier conversation with a businessman who asked him about his health.
In his speech, Duterte again took a swipe at former Senator Francisco Tatad, who earlier speculated that the president went to Fuda Cancer Hospital in to Guangzhou, China to seek treatment.
“Si Tatad mauna pang mamatay sa akin, tingnan mo. Iyung mga ganoong tao -- pumunta daw ako ng China nagpagamot ako,” he said.
“Sa inis ko sabi ko, oo totoo yan, nagpa-ospital ako, nagpatuli ako uli. Kasi yung tuli nung grade 3 lang ako ganoon lang, pinalinis ko para round talaga. T*** i**** Tatad ito. Baka ikaw ang supot. Kapag ginanoon mo ako maski anong crowd babastusin talaga kita.”
Guangzhou's Fuda Cancer Hospital has placed a newspaper ad denying that Duterte sought cancer treatment in its facility.
The Palace has downplayed Duterte’s health concerns, saying anyone in his 70s like the president is bound to encounter health issues.
In December, Duterte's health made headlines after the chief executive claimed he might not "be around" until the end of his term, and that, after winning the presidency at 71, he had found out late in the day that "I don't need it at my age".
Duterte admitted suffering from back pains, migraines and Buerger's disease, a cause of blockages in the blood vessels, associated with smoking during his youth.
But Malacanang brushed aside questions on whether medical bulletins on the President's health should be released. Cabinet officials also claimed Duterte was fit to work.
Duterte, who will be 77 at the end of his term in 2022, is the oldest Filipino to be elected president in the post-World War 2 era. He had missed events because of migraine and a bad stomach at the Asean summit in Laos in September and last month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru.