Duterte May Hold Live Briefings to Debunk Health Rumors, Says Palace

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Photo/s: Simon Celi Jr/Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte is considering hosting live briefings to quash talk about his health, his spokesman said Thursday. Earlier, his long-time aide said the chief executive was strong and was not suffering from any serious illness.

The live briefings, should they push through, would be a departure from the often pre-taped messages to the nation that are made at around midnight and aired the morning after. "We are talking about it," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

Late Wednesday, Sen. Bong Go, who had worked for Duterte for two decades, said the President was strong, "malakas pa sa kalabaw (stronger than a carabao)," and was making himself scarce to avoid catching COVID-19. Duterte is 75.

A few weeks back, Go shot down rumors of Duterte's alleged ill health by releasing a photo of the President sharing a meal with his family at home in Davao City, where he served as mayor for many years. Duterte later addressed talk on social media that he was in Singapore, saying: "Stop this nonsense."


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The President mentioned in his weekly address to the nation aired Tuesday that he was still suffering from Barret’s esophagus, complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

"Wala siyang iniindang sakit na seryoso at hindi natin kailangan mag-alala (He is not suffering from a serious illness and we need not worry)," said Go.

Roque said on Thursday: "The Constitution only says, if there is a serious illness, there is an obligation to reveal to the public the details of his health condition. So susundin po iyan ng Presidente (The President will follow that)."

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