MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday quashed speculation that he had heart surgery when he was away from the public eye for about a week in May.
"Hindi . . . I’m not without . . . may sakit. Pero kung sabihin mo na na-operahan daw ako sa heart . . ." Duterte said in an interview broadcast by Sonshine Media Network International.
"If there is something wrong in my heart, it cannot be a heart disease."
Rumors had circulated the weekend after the midterm polls that the President was hospitalized at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City but Malacañang denied this.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte focused on signing papers and reading documents when he is out of public view.
Duterte's prolonged absences from the public eye are not new, and are often attributed to health concerns.
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.