By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang denied that President Duterte was rushed to a hospital early Wednesday morning, causing him to skip his scheduled attendance to an event in the Palace the same day.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement amid new reports questioning anew the status of Duterte’s health.
In his press briefing, Roque said that Duterte was absent during the event, not because the President was sick, but because he realize that he hasn’t had a day-off for quite some time.
“I was looking at his schedule, he has a schedule almost everyday. He did not really have a day off, so the President decided to have private time,” Roque said Thursday.
“I was expecting to see him in the PAGCOR check turnover, bu he decided he wanted to take the day off,” he added.
On Wednesday, Malacañang was not able to give any explanation as to Duterte’s absence in the said event. His absence came following rumors that he was rushed to a hospital.
According to Roque, there is no truth to the rumors and insisted that Duterte just took the day off. He also said that the President does not mind the persistent talks about his health.
“I don’t think he really cares about the rumors,” he said.
The Palace official, meanwhile, assured the public that Duterte will follow the Constitution and inform the nation if he is indeed suffering from a serious illness.
“The health is fine. The president is a lawyer. He will inform and conform with the Constitution if there is a serious health ailment, but there is none,” Roque said.
“Please trust that if he has a serious ailment, the people will know. And, of course, I keep on repeating this, he’s a lawyer, he knows his constitutional obligation,” he added.
“If there’s a ground to release it, he will. But for the time being, let’s continue to treat medical records as being confidential,” he continued.
Noticing that issue on Duterte’s health is becoming restless as there is a new issue almost every month, Roque said that it is now getting very tiring.
“Marami kasi ang wishful thinking. Mahiya naman kayo, ‘yung mga nagnanais na magkasakit ‘yung Presidente. Lalo kayong magnais ng ganyan lalong lumalakas. Siguro i-reverse nila (There are a lot of people who are wishful thinking. Please, have shame. The more you wish for him to get ill, the more he gets stronger. Maybe you should wish the opposite),” he said.
When asked if he was serious about people wishing Duterte good health to see if it would have the opposite effect on the President, Roque said that the issue is now getting old
“It’s just that nakakapagod na eh. Sasabihin nila may sakit, o lalo naman malakas pa sa kabayo. Tapos sasabihin nila nawala, may sakit na naman. Ano pa’ng sasabihin ko (It’s just that the issue is now getting old. They will say he is sick but later on they’ll see he’s stronger than a horse. If he’s not around, they’ll say he is sick again. What more can I say)?” he said.
Duterte’s health has been a topic always raised by his critics. Last week, Duterte mentioned that he had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. Malacañang, however, said that Duterte’s check-ups are just part of routine to ensure that the President is healthy.
“I think that’s routine. Sinabi naman ng Presidente na talagang nagpapaganyan siyang test regularly. So routine naman po iyan (The President already said that he undergoes tests like that regularly). Nothing extraordinary,” Roque said last week.
Before this, Duterte’s health was mentioned was before he his state visit to Israel when Magdalo representative Gary Alejano said that the President will go to the Holy Land for medical purposes. His claims were brushed off by Palace officials.
Prior to that, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison also claimed in August that Duterte fell into a coma. This was disputed when the President appeared in a Facebook live video.
Earlier, Roque assured that Duterte will abide by the Constitution and will inform the public if he really has a serious illness.