DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 October) — The Malacañang Palace will inform the public of the result of the diagnostic examinations of the 73-year old President Rodrigo Duterte only if it’s a serious illness, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“The result of the examination, whether or not it could be made public will depend on what they find out. If it’s not serious, we have no right to inquire into it; if it’s serious, he will be compelled to share it with the nation,” Roque said in a press briefing on Friday.
The President admitted on Thursday that he underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy about three weeks ago and was advised to undergo another endoscopy at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center on Wednesday just before he was about to hold a cabinet meeting. The Cabinet meeting was reset to October 8.
This contradicted the earlier statement made by Roque that the President did not undergo medical examinations.
Roque maintained he had no intention to hide Duterte’s state of health and that he was not aware he was in the hospital as his calendar of activities indicated that he would have a “private time” when apparently he had medical tests.
“Pero ang sabi naman niya kahapon, ‘name a 73 year old na walang karamdaman.’ So kung meron man siyang karamdaman, he thinks it’s not out of the ordinary (What he said yesterday, ‘name a 73-year old who has no illness.’ So if he has an illness, he thinks it’s not out of the ordinary),” he said.
Citing Article 7 Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution, Roque said only in case of serious illness is the Palace required to inform the public of the state of his health because his medical condition, unless it is serious, is covered by his right to privacy.
“And I think endoscopy was recommended – from his own words ha, in the general command conference – because they wanted just to be sure that there was a growth and that they wanted to know more about the growth. So, I think that’s the context of why he said, if its cancer, it’s cancer,” he said.
Duterte admitted suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, Buerger’s Disease and GERD (gastroensophageal reflux disease), a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter.
“I don’t know where — where I’m now physically but I have to wait for that… But I would tell you that — if it’s cancer, it’s cancer. And if it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere,” Duterte said at the dinner with the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI) in Malacanang on October 4. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)