Duterte: If you want me to die early, you must pray harder

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2021 10:19 PM | Updated as of Apr 13 2021 08:10 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte hammered his critics again on Monday, days after he was missing from the public eye for nearly two weeks.

In his weekly public talk online, Duterte addressed rumors about his whereabouts, saying he intended to be absent from the public eye.

"Noong nawala ako ng ilang araw, talagang sinadya ko 'yun. Ganoon ako eh, kapag kinakalkal mo ako, lalo akong, parang bata? Kapag lalo mo akong kinakantyawan, eh mas lalo akong gumagana," he said.

(When I was gone for a few days, I did that on purpose. I am like that, when you look for me, I tend to act like a child. When you tease me, that's when I act up.)

According to Duterte, his hometown has always been Davao City and that he can freely go home anytime, and said he he does not use public funds for his trips.

He also addressed criticisms after his former aide and now senator Christopher "Bong" Go posted videos and photos showing him jogging, golfing, and motorbike-riding in an apparent bid to quell rumors on his health.

Duterte said there is nothing wrong with enjoying his hobbies in the wee hours of the day, as he is not taking people's time.

"Pero kung sabihin mo na may sakit ako ngayon to prevent me from exercising the powers of the presidency, wala ho. Kaya ako nakaka-swing ng golf (club), tapos nagmo-motor, kasi kaya ko pa. The problem is you should look into the time I enjoy my hobbies. Gabi 'yun, ano ba naman. Sa araw makita mo ako nag-golf...sabihin may problema," he said.

(But if you say that my health is preventing me from exercising the powers of the presidency, I am not sick. That's why I can still play golf, I can still ride the motorcycle, because I can. The problem is you should look into the time I enjoy my hobbies. I do them at night. If I do them during the day, you will also see something wrong with it.)

"If you want me to die early, you must pray harder. Actually, what you intend or what you would like to happen is to see me go. You want me to go and you're praying for that," Duterte added.

Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo on Tuesday said it was "not presidentiable" for the President to say such things.

"Sa mga salita ng Presidente, hindi ko na sinasagot kasi di naman kapani-paniwala ang kaniyang sinasabi. It’s not presidentiable na sasagot ka ng ganyan sa public address sa mga tao," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(I don't respond to the President's remarks because they're not believable. It's not presidentiable to say that in a public address.)

"Hindi naman 'yan ang hinahanap ng mga tao, hindi naman yan ang pangangailangan ng bansa. It’s not worth dealing with those kind of statements."

(That's not what the people are looking for, it's not what the country needs.)

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said Duterte is "not sick" despite his absence.

Duterte, 76, cancelled public engagements last week after some members of his security team contracted COVID-19, said his allies, who denied that the President was ill. 

Duterte, the oldest to become Philippine President, had said he suffers Barrett’s esophagus, an inflammation of the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.

The President, in various instances, said he also struggled with back pains, migraines and Buerger's disease, which is linked to blockages in the blood vessels associated with smoking during his youth.

Duterte's absence from public eye coincided with the 2-week return of the Greater Manila area to the strictest quarantine level, and a report of Chinese ships chasing a Filipino boat away from Philippine waters.

Last year, Duterte defended his whereabouts while typhoon Ulysses battered parts of the country in November.

Duterte said that at that time, he was at home attending the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) virtually.

He also said he is a "night person" who works late into the night reading official documents.

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