The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte strongly denied a report circulating in social media that the latter is suffering from throat cancer Saturday. The story was first reported by writer Philip Lustre Jr. on his Facebook page.
“He has been on the road for over a year now, a clear proof of his good state of health,” Duterte spokesperson Peter Tiu Laviña said. He described the report as merely a black propaganda by the Mayor’s political opponents. “He (Duterte) is sick and tired of our rotten system. That is why he has been advocating for change in our country,” Laviña said, adding that Filipino masses ‘would not fall for these dirty tricks.’
In a press conference last Monday, Duterte announced that he is not seeking the presidency and is instead retiring from politics beginning next year. That, however, has not stopped his supporters from urging him to change his mind. The filing of candidacies will be from October 12 to 16.
Citing an anonymous source, Lustre claimed in his report that Duterte has cancer of the throat and that this is the main consideration for his decision not to run. “His family is strongly against any presidential run for him because the nationwide political campaign would exacerbate his throat cancer,” Lustre wrote. He added: “Since he is 70 years ago, those health issues could cascade to bigger issues and proportions.”
Lustre then went on to mention a recent round table discussion that Duterte had with the editorial board of TV5. During the interview, he was asked by Erwin Tulfo what his family really thinks of the possibility of him running for president especially given his high rankings in surveys. The entire episode is embedded below, with the discussion about his health comes at the 38:30 mark.
He began his response by emphasizing his age, adding that his family knows about his medical condition which was triggered by his fondness for liquor. “My doctor said ‘If you do not stop drinking, mag-stage one ka na.’ I refuse to stop drinking because I am already 70. What good ang mamatay ka tapos hindi ka mag-enjoy?” the mayor explained.
He then related that he has spinal problems caused by a bicycle accident he experienced two years ago. According to him, that is causing extreme pain which he is trying to alleviate by holding his left jawbone regularly and by using Fentanyl pain patch. “Hindi ako pwede (tumakbong presidente) because I suffer 24 hours everyday,” he said, adding that his family knows about all these.