CEBU - President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he is perpetually in pain due to a spinal injury he suffered from a past motorcycle accident.
“I have a C4 and C7 na nag-impinge. That’s why I am in perpetual pain. On the --- on any day, it’s 7 in a scale of 10,” Duterte said in his speech before local chief executives at an event in Cebu.
“Eh ayaw na ng doktor na sige ng painkiller, sabi niya, 'You better come to terms with your body.' So ano na ako ‘yung threshold ko sa pain medyo nagtabla-tabla na.”
Duterte’s admission follows public speculation that his health was failing, which the Palace has since denied.
In his speech, Duterte belied the claim of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison he had fallen into coma.
"So si Sison, I don't know what he means by “comatose ako.” Kama lang sana ako pero comatose. Matagal pa ako,” Duterte said.
Duterte blasted Sison as a "discredited leader" and "freeloader" in Netherlands. He challenged the communist leader to look for another country to be his host and to give respite for the Dutch citizens.
"You know, Mr. Sison, you are a refugee in that country. You are availing of the funds of the Norwegian people. You do not pay anything. You are staying there for free. And you are sick with cancer, in and out of the hospital,” he said.
“Kaawa ang Norwegian people. They are footing the bill and you are a rebel that is a freeloader. Nagfi-free load ka lang diyan. So stop it. Mahiya ka naman.”
To deal with the pain, Duterte earlier said he used to take fentanyl, a powerful painkiller usually prescribed to cancer patients.
He also has Buerger disease, a condition that causes constriction of blood vessels due to nicotine and also suffers from a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease.