MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte went to Hong Kong only to rest and not seek medical consultation, Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
Duterte went on an unannounced trip to Hong Kong with his partner Honeylet Avanceña, daughter Veronica, and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go over the weekend.
Go posted pictures of the President roaming around and shopping in the popular tourist destination.
Asked whether the President’s real reason for visiting Hong Kong was to see a Chinese specialist, Andanar said: “Ay tsismis lang iyan. Nakita naman natin sa mga picture na nandoon, eh nagiikot-ikot si Presidente at tumitingin ng mga mabibiling dilaw na damit.”
(That’s just gossip. We saw his pictures roaming around and browsing for yellow clothes.)
Andanar said Duterte went to Hong Kong purely to unwind.
“Sa palagay ko naman ay he deserves a break, family time, kasi kita naman natin kung gaano rin magtrabaho si Presidente,” he said.
(The President deserves some break, family time, given how hard he has been working.)
Duterte, now 73 and the oldest president elected in Philippine history, suffers from back pains, migraines and Buerger's disease, a cause of blockages in the blood vessels, associated with smoking during his youth.
Duterte recently underwent endoscopy to check on the "growth" found in his digestive tract. The President regularly consults a gastroenterologist because he suffers from Barret’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
His aides, however, maintain that he is in good health.
Malacañang in August also assured the public that Duterte will follow the Constitution and disclose the status of his health if he is afflicted with a serious illness.
Nearly half of Filipinos believe that President Rodrigo Duterte is facing health problems, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Sunday.
Of 1,500 adults polled late last month, 45 percent of adult Filipinos believe that the President has health problems while 26 percent do not. Twenty-nine percent were undecided about the matter, said SWS.