Just a joke, Roque says of Duterte quip that his cough 'might be cancer'
President Rodrigo Duterte was likely joking when he said that his coughing could be a sign of cancer, his spokesman said on Friday.
Duterte, at one point in his speech on Thursday, paused to ask for a piece of tissue and coughed. "Iyong pag-ubo ko, progressive. Baka cancer na ang p***** ***," he said, wrapping one hand on his throat.
(My cough is progressive. This s** ** **** might be cancer.)
"I think that’s really a joke of the President, and should not be taken to mean na may cancer talaga siya," Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said of the comment.
"I do not have any information na dapat mag-alala tayo… Susunod siya sa Saligang Batas, kung mayroon siyang seryosong karamdaman, ipagbibigay-alam niya po iyan sa publiko," he said in a press briefing
(I think that’s really a joke of the President, and should not be taken to mean that he really has cancer. I do not have any information that should alarm us. He will follow the Constitution, if he has a serious illness, he will inform the public.)
Symptoms of COVID-19 include coughing. But Roque said he had no close contact with the President before testing positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this week.
Duterte, 75, said in August last year that he was told by his doctor he was at risk of developing cancer from Barrett’s esophagus, an inflammation of the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.
The President is "fit and healthy for a person his age," Roque had said.
"So far, he is okay. As far as I know there is no cancer. And as I have said if there is cancer and if it is a serious illness, he will be reporting it to the people," he said.
Duterte, in various instances, said he also struggles with back pain, migraines and Buerger's disease, which is linked to blockages in the blood vessels associated with smoking during his youth.
In May, the Supreme Court junked a plea to compel the Palace to disclose Duterte's health records.
The petition cited Duterte's “incoherent, unresponsive… unintelligible ramblings” and his “drunken monologue” during his late-night press conferences as signs he may not be fit enough to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.