Duterte meets Thai envoy in first public appearance since midterm polls

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2019 05:31 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte appeared in public Tuesday, his first since the May 13 elections and amid persistent rumors on his health.

Duterte received the credentials of Thailand's Ambassador-Designate to the Philippines Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng in Malacañang, marking his first public appearance since he cast his vote in his hometown Davao City for the midterm elections.

Over the weekend, rumors circulated that the President, 74, was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City but Malacañang denied this.

Panelo, however, noted that Duterte neither confirmed nor denied whether he did visit the hospital.

On Sunday, former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go released photos of the President posing with daily broadsheets as proof of life at the Bahay ng Pagbabago in Malacañang.

Duterte's prolonged absences from the public eye are not new but have oftentimes fueled speculation on his health.

Last year, the President said he underwent a medical checkup to examine a “growth” found in his digestive tract. Duterte said he needed to undergo endoscopy and colonoscopy because he suffers from Barret’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease.