MANILA- (2ND UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accused Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison of conniving with the Magdalo group when asked about his state of health.
During his one-on-one interview with chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Duterte was asked about his health.
The President, in response, alleged that Sison has been in cahoots with the Magdalo group as he revived his claim that a foreign country “sympathetic” to him has supplied information on his critics.
"They have combined and we have the evidence, and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us. We don’t have that sophistication,” Duterte said, without identifying which country he was referring to.
"Maybe any day now, I [will] ask that it be declassified and ipakita nila sa lahat...Nahihigop lahat eh and they were in constant communication. (Show it to everyone...they're able to monitor all and they were in constant communication)," he added.
Panelo simply responded to Duterte by saying: "Sa punto naman po ng kalusugan ay talagang malusog na malusog kayo gaya ng nakikita ng taumbayan."
(When it comes to your state of health, you are very healthy as what the public can see.)
Duterte over the weekend urged the public to watch out for his critics' supposed move to oust him, which he said will "go into high gear" in October.
Both Sison and the Magdalo group however have denied being in cahoots to oust the President.
"I just would like to say categorically that we don't connive with the communists," Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano told ANC Tuesday.
"It's very far in our minds to connive and cooperate with the communists in this country," he added.
Sison said Duterte is only "worried to death and so desperate" to think that he would be ousted next month.
"There has never been any discussion between me or the CPP with Trillanes or the Liberal Party about ousting Duterte from power," he said.
"The moment of ouster will occur when Duterte´s own military and police forces withdraw support from Duterte upon the sight and inspiration of the rising people in their millions throughout the archipelago," he added.
This is not the first time that Duterte claimed that a foreign country has given him information about his critics.
He previously said that a foreign country provided him allegedly [wire]tapped conversations of detained Senator Leila de Lima which supposedly proved the latter’s involvement in the drug trade.
This prompted De Lima to file a petition for writ of habeas data before the Supreme Court.
Sison and Duterte have repeatedly traded barbs and allegations over their health.
The 79-year-old communist leader earlier challenged Duterte, 73, to submit himself to a medical examination at the Philippine General Hospital and in turn, he would make public his own medical certificate.
"I challenge Duterte to submit himself to medical examination by the best independent diagnosticians of the Philippine General Hospital in order to establish whether he is physically and mentally fit for his position," Sison previously said.
Sison had also alleged that the darkening of parts of Duterte's face was caused by a serious illness. Duterte belied this, saying this was caused by his frequent trips to the mountains.
The President has also claimed several times that Sison is seriously ill. He once said that the exiled leader has colon cancer.
-with a report from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News