Cabinet officials assure public Duterte is healthy despite ailments


Posted at Dec 14 2016 10:30 PM

MANILA — Cabinet officials said President Rodrigo Duterte is in good health after he said he was battling ailments and that he may not live to complete his six years in office.

Duterte told a gathering of business leaders on Monday that he suffered back pains, migraines and Buerger's disease, which is caused by smoking and affects blood flow.

Duterte, 71, raised further questions about his health by telling a crowd of expatriate Filipinos during a state visit in Cambodia that he might not "be around" until the end of his term.

"He is doing very well," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told a news briefing in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

"Whatever pains he's experiencing is basically, as the doctors would say, wear and tear. So nothing to be afraid about, nothing to be concerned about. He's doing fine."

Duterte, who will be 77 at the end of his term in 2022, is the oldest Filipino to be elected president in the post-World War 2 era.

He missed events because of migraine and a bad stomach at the Asean summit in Laos in September and last month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru.

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello said in the same media briefing he had difficulty keeping pace with Duterte's schedule.

"He is super healthy," Bello said. "Whatever he is doing, I don't think somebody who is sick can do that. He must be in the pink of health."