MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday reflected on the last days of his presidency and wondered what he did to deserve the country's top leadership even as he quietly battled illnesses at his age.
Duterte said he has lingering illnesses. This week, he said he had difficulties reading because of his poor eyesight. He has also become limp because of motorcycle accidents.
"Marunong ang Diyos. Binigay niya sa akin ang presidency sa katandaan ko. Ngayon, last year lang ito, naglabasan na lahat ang sakit then ang term ko matatapos na rin. Timing lang," Duterte said during his speech in Bataan.
(The Lord is wise. He gave me the presidency even if I am old. My illnesses started appearing since last year just as my term neared its end. It's just timing.)
"Ewan ko ba kung ano ang nagawa ko sa buhay na ito. Maybe I have done something good na na-impress ko si Jesus... Sa altar, tingin ako kay Hesukristo. Naka-ganoon siya. Just... 'pareha talaga ang swerte natin, magtulungan na lang tayo, naghihirap na ko dito,'" the 77-year-old Duterte added.
(I do not know what I did. Maybe I have done something good that impressed Jesus. In the altar I always look at him while at the cross and I tell him 'we are just the same. Let's help each other out, it is hard out here.)
He also said he could not remember a time during the Holy Week where he did not kneel to pray.
Duterte at the early parts of his presidency criticized the Catholic Church and even recently joked that he would depose Satan in hell when he steps down from office on June 30.
"Ganoon ang buhay ko. Pero binigyan ako ng Panginoong Diyos."
(That's how my life is, but the Lord God still gave me these things.)
Duterte had criticized the Catholic Church, calling them "hypocrites" and even urged the public to stop going to Mass.
He has also been known internationally for his bloody drug war and for cursing at the Pope.
He had mocked Catholics’ practice of venerating saints during town fiestas. He had also joked about having a new religion - the "Iglesia ni Rodrigo".
PLANS AFTER PRESIDENCY
Duterte, who was elected President at 71, likened himself as a "shining star in the skies" in politics. He also touted his decades-long public service as a mayor and House lawmaker.
He added that he is already preparing to become a private citizen.
"I used to be a shining star, but after June 30, I will only be an ordinary citizen at ganoon na lang kalaki. Ganoon ang buhay," he said.
(That's how life is.)
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had said Duterte might teach law in his hometown Davao City, while his acting spokesman Martin Andanar said he might continue his advocacies for good governance and his drug war.