MANILA - Malacañang on Monday maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte will step down if he is "dying or gravely ill", amid renewed interest on the President’s health in the wake of his admission that he recently underwent gastrointestinal procedures.
Duterte on Friday said he had a colonoscopy and endoscopy “about a week ago.” He said he needed to undergo these procedures because he suffers from Barret’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
But the President, now 73, said his health is still in good condition.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the procedures Duterte underwent were routine ones and the public should not make a big deal out of it.
“Kung seryoso po iyan hindi naman iyan aaminin ni Presidente,” Roque said in jest.
“Sabi ko kung seryoso iyan ‘no. Ibig sabihin he was so open about it, it was nothing. It was routine.”
He added Duterte will not cling to power if he is “dying or very gravely ill.”
“The President is transparent. Iyong mama nga ilang beses ng sinabing gusto na nga niyang iwanan iyong posisyon niya ‘no,” he said.
Aside from his digestive problems, the President also suffers from Buerger disease, a condition that causes constriction of blood vessels due to nicotine.
He also had a spinal injury from a past motorcycle accident, which he said is causing him “perpetual pain.”
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV also downplayed Duterte’s recent medical procedures, saying it’s more important to have Duterte checked for possible mental illness.
“Sa akin ang kailangan niya ipatingin mag neuropsychological [exam] siya. Erratic ang behavior niya eh,” Trillanes said.
“We are being run by someone who is psychologically imbalanced. Delikado iyan for the country.”