By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is prepared to say "goodbye" to his post if his family thinks he is no longer coherent and capable of performing his duty.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a press conference at the Malacañan Palace on November 19, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
But for now, the President admitted that he was nursing a limp and hematoma apparently from his motorcycle fall although he has no bone fracture.
"When I'm no longer coherent, if I cannot articulate now the things that I want to relay to you, then it's about time that you call the attention of my family, Inday, and say that your father is no longer capable of being President of this Republic. Why? Because he’s not good anymore. Then if my family would say, “You retire. Do not wait for the expiration," he said during a press conference in Malacanang late Tuesday night.
"‘Di sabihin ko, 'If I cannot talk to you anymore, if I cannot be of help to you, then it’s about time to say goodbye.' Until then, and it will come, we just wait," he said.
Duterte said he was even ready to face moves to sue him and bring him to jail once he ends his term. "‘Yung mga gusto akong ipakulong, then walang problema. Ipakulong mo ako kung kaya mo ," he added.
The President was recently diagnosed with muscle spasm after he complained of unbearable pain in his spinal column. His back pain forced him to cut short his trip to Japan last month. Duterte has been advised to rest for a few days but he declined to go on leave.
In his press conference Tuesday, the President admitted he has ailments related to his old age. Duterte is 74 years old.
"Huwag na ninyo akong tanungin na kung may sakit ba ako. Kasi lahat ng 74 years old dito sa Pilipinas --- except for a few --- lahat may sakit na 'yan. Mamili ka lang, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, kidney, lung cancer, cancer of the colon karamihan. 'Yung lahat ng sakit na 'yan, nandito na sa akin ," he candidly said.
"Matanda na ako eh. Pero nakakapagsalita pa naman ako ," he said.
He also admitted that he sustained injuries apparently caused by his motorcycle accident last month.
“Itong visible ito o. The hematoma. When you are old, ang hematoma mo matagal 'yan o. I walk with a limp pero wala naman akong fracture ,” said Duterte, who later showed to reporters the bruises on his leg.
Duterte said he could not take a rest even if he wanted because of his heavy workload.
"Alam mo, gusto ko 'yan, ang problema, 'yung trabaho. Kasi walang ibang magpirma niyan eh. So hindi mo --- unless you go into an official leave of absence. I cannot do that.
No president can ever do that ," he said.
He also refused to go on leave work since he has to deal with many concerns, including security threats.
"In between, far and wide, your vacation, kapag may nangyari... Alam mo it --- ang Pilipinas continues to be volatile. You have the insurgency, you have the NPAs, and you have the terrorists. Ang pinaka-dangerous diyan are the terrorists," he said.
He explained that all he can do is go home and sleep to recharge for the next working day.
"Hindi ako maka-rest eh. Mag-uwi lang ako, magtulog lang ako ng dalawang araw kasi para to make up the shortfall ika nga ," he said.
"Pero after that eh, matulog ako maski diretso gabi pati hanggang umaga tapos hanggang alas sais. Then I wake up with a more sturdy feeling of my body," he added.
Duterte, halfway through his six-year term, meantime said he looks forward to his retirement.
"I am 74 years old. I'd like to talk to the people of the Philippines. I am 74 years old. As a matter of fact, I'm happy that after this, I only count the days, the Christmas --- two Christmases --- and then I retire," he said.