By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has assured the nation that he has no cancer but has a bad case of Barrett’s esophagus ailment after a recent hospital visit.
In a press conference in Malacañang, the President disclosed that he tested “negative” for cancer after undergoing medical tests at the hospital.
“Hindi pa ako cancerous [I’m not yet cancerous] so do not be afraid to go near me. I won’t contaminate you,” the 73-year-old President said.
The President issued the statement amid mounting clamor for information about his true health condition from some groups following his endoscopy and colonoscopy tests last week. His close aide Christopher Go had earlier told reporters that the President was very healthy and cancer-free, saying he was expected to finish his six-year term and live a long life.
While he was declared free of cancer, Duterte admitted that his Barrett’s esophagus has been “badly eroded” since he defied doctors’ order to avoid drinking liquor. He admitted that he went back to his drinking habit that aggravated his ailment.
“Was I found positive of cancer? No, it’s not the colon it’s my Barett dito yan it’s badly eroded because I was told to stop drinking years ago,” he said about Barrett’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
“But of late, bumalik kasi ako (I resumed). I don’t know for one reason or another I just like to drink brandy po ngayon (now). Totoo (The truth is), and before I sleep, even if I’m alone nag-three shots ako (I take three shots),” he added.
In a jest, the President even challenged reporters to a drinking session, saying “I can give you a run for your money.”
Duterte, however, said he has decided to curb his drinking habit to satisfy the family’s appeal to live a long life.
Asked if his family was concerned about his health, Duterte said they just wanted him to take another medical test just to be sure.
“Nothing serious actually. They said if you have time and there was no other time except I had to do it in a jiffy. “O how long would it take?” Sabi, “about one hour.” So I stayed there for one hour,” he said about his recent hospital visit.