MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday admitted that he drinks at night despite being told to quit the habit.
Duterte revealed this as he addressed questions on his health, particularly the result of his latest endoscopy to check the “growth” found in his digestive tract. He said his test yielded a “negative” result and that he is not “cancerous.”
“If you mean was I found positive of cancer? No, it’s not the colon. It’s my Barrett’s [esophagus]. Dito 'yan. It’s badly eroded because I was told to stop drinking years ago,” Duterte told reporters.
“But of late, bumalik kasi ako (I went back to the habit). I don’t know for one reason or another, I just like to drink, brandy po. Ngayon sa totoo (Now actually), before I sleep, even if I’m alone, nag-three shots ako bago matulog (I have three shots before I sleep)."
He said his doctors warned him of his drinking habit.
Duterte, the oldest to be elected Philippine president in history, suffers from back pains, migraines and Buerger's disease, a cause of blockages in the blood vessels associated with smoking during his youth.
Earlier Tuesday, Palace officials said Duterte was healthy, with his closest aide saying the President could finish his term.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the public should be told about the state of health of a sitting president. If the leader dies in office, permanently disabled or removed through impeachment, the vice president succeeds to serve the remaining years in a 6-year single term.
Duterte had earlier bared doubts over the ability of his constitutional successor, opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo, to lead the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured the public Tuesday that Duterte would follow the Constitution and disclose the status of his health if he is afflicted with a serious illness.
He said Duterte’s medical records should be treated as confidential if the chief executive does not suffer from a life-threatening condition.
Nearly half of Filipinos believe that 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. Some 29 percent were undecided about the matter, said SWS.
The same survey revealed that 55 percent of the respondents were worried that Duterte would have health problems, while 44 percent said otherwise.
Duterte's health was a constant source of speculation after he disappeared from public view for a week last year but his aides dismissed rumors about his medical conditions. -with Reuters