Duterte lashes back at veteran journo, denies having cancer

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Sept) – Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte lashed back at the veteran journalist and at the same time denied the latter’s Facebook post stating that the mayor has cancer of the throat.

In his television program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” on Sunday, Duterte called Philip Lustre Jr. (Philip Jr Lustre on Facebook) as “mentally impotent” for coming up with the post that having suffered from “throat cancer” was the mayor’ reason why he is not for president in the 2016 elections.

“You are suffering from mental impotence. You have to see a doctor sa tinuod lang (to tell you the truth). You are a journalist… in your caliber, your English is acceptable, tolerable grammar (but) there’s something wrong in your mind. You’re mentally impotent, it’s not really working,” Duterte said.

Duterte advised Lustre to look for a lawyer.

But when asked by TV host Lawyer Geraldine Tiu if he is taking any legal action, he said, “What can you do with a mentally impotent? Dili man pud na dawaton sa korte (The court cannot accept that). Mo-ingon man ng korte (The court will just tell you) he cannot defend himself. May deperensya ang ulo (He is mentally incapacitated).”

Duterte even challenged the journalist to check on his medical records to find out that his “throat is okay, including my tongue.”

In his Facebook post on Friday, Lustre claimed that he received an information about Duterte’s real health condition from a reliable source, who was not in authority to speak on the matter.

“Just yesterday, somebody leaked the information to me that Davao City Rodrigo Duterte has cancer of the throat. He was not playing close-open type of politics when he said he could not decide to run for the presidency in 2016. In fact, he was dead-sure he would not run for any post in 2016, but instead retire,” he said.

Lustre added that “[Duterte’s] family is strongly against any presidential run for him because the nationwide political campaign would exacerbate his throat cancer. His health condition could cascade to terminal stage.”

Lustre also stated that Duterte admitted his physical condition in a roundtable discussion with journalists of ABC-5 last Tuesday, a day after he categorically announced that he was not running for the country’s highest position or any elective posts in the government in next year’s elections and that he is retiring from public service.

“Somebody in the audience asked Duterte why he was frequently holding the left side of his jaw and neck. Duterte made reference to his health situation cascading from Stage One to Stage Four without categorically saying that he has the Big C,” he said.

What Duterte did not deny is that he has been suffering from Buerger’s disease, a condition caused by “inflammation and thrombosis in small and medium-sized blood vessels, typically in the legs and leading to gangrene.”

He said he developed the condition by getting too much nicotine out of smoking. He said it was the same reason why he implemented the smoking ban in the city to protect “all of you, including our children.”

Lustre’s post also claimed that he “likewise referred to the unhealthy situation of his spine” since this can result to “bigger issues and proportions.”

Duterte did not deny that he developed a condition in his spine after a motorcycle accident.

“Sumimplang sa motor sa big bike then something went wrong with my spine. Doctors wanted to open and fix it but the problem is yung doctor ko dito and doctor ko sa Maynila ayaw, pati yung asawa ko who worked sometime in the States. Sabi niya na she has seen a lot of procedures that went astray, naging gulay,” Duterte said.

“Ikaw siguro ang may deperensya. Ako nagpunta na ako ng doctor,” he told Lustre.

Lustre insisted that Duterte admitted to a vice presidential candidate of his throat cancer.

“He told the vice presidential candidate that their camp had to wait for his decision because of health issues, which he had to confront. This is the reason he could not decide despite the frequent encouragement by his fans for him to run for president,” Lustre added.

He added, “No, he was not playing coy; no, he was not making fun of the country. But let it be said that Duterte has the moral obligation to make clear to the country his current health situation. Since he is frequently described as a potential presidential candidate, it is his duty to make a full disclosure of every single detail of his health situation.”

Duterte countered that even if he would run for president, cancer of the throat will not be ground for disqualification because it has nothing to do with presidency.

He said he was advised by his doctor, a certain Dr. Soriano who performed endoscopy on him, to stop drinking alcohol since he is nearing “stage 1”, although he did not specify if it was cancer.

The mayor said he has a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

“Sinabihan ako kung hindi ako huminto mag-inom, you go to stage 1,” he said.

“Matanda na ako. I enjoy drinking. If I die with esophageal issue, if I die about seven years from now, God can give me additional of two years, I’m okay. I if get to live 90 years old, anong gawin ko dito. It’s no longer my time, time for me to go.”