Duterte mocks those who spread rumors he is dead
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 3, 2019 - 6:17pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:52 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte Sunday proved that rumors about his death were greatly exaggerated as he appeared on online videos to mock those who claim that he has passed away. 

Duterte was seen in three videos posted on Facebook by his partner Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña. In the first video, Avanceña was showing Duterte a copy of Sunday's issue of The STAR in a dining room. In the second and third videos, Duterte was addressing those who believe he is dead. 

"For those who believe in the news that I passed away, then I request of you, please pray for me, for the eternal repose of my soul. Thank you," Duterte said in one of the videos.



The 73-year-old president also promised to "interview" God and to relay the messages of his critics to Him.

"I will ask god first if he’s available for interview because I will go there. What is your message? I will relay it. Priests, bishops, everyone. And the last wish of the drug addicts, you list them all. I will be the one to bring them to heaven or hell, it depends," the president said in Filipino. 



Hours before Avanceña uploaded the videos, some users of social networking sites were speculating about the health of Duterte, noting that the president has not been seen in public since last Wednesday. 



Duterte's last public engagement was his attendance at the premiere of the movie about former Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa in Mandaluyong City last Tuesday. 

Earlier, Duterte admitted to suffering from acute bronchitis and a migraine tied to a spinal injury he sustained in a motorcycle mishap in the 1960s. Duterte, the oldest person to be elected to the presidency, has also admitted to having Buerger’s disease, an illness caused by smoking. 

Last October, Duterte revealed he underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy and even raised the possibility that he may have cancer. Endoscopy seeks to examine a patient's digestive tract while colonoscopy aims to check the condition of the large intestine. Duterte, later on, claimed he was tested negative for cancer.

Despite Duterte's statement, about half of Filipinos believe the president has health problems, according to a recent poll. 

A nationwide Social Weather Stations survey conducted last month indicated that 66 percent of Filipinos are worried about Duterte's health, higher than the 55 percent recorded in September.

The poll, which used face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults, also found 49 percent believe the president has health problems, more than double the 24 percent who thought otherwise.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 19, 2019 - 3:14pm

Malacañang denies claims, such as that of Communist party founder Joma Sison on Sunday, that President Rodrigo Duterte has been in comatose.

Sison cited a "latest report" that is yet "to be verified or negated" in saying that Duterte has gone into coma late Sunday.

"The president is healthy. He's fine," says presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

May 19, 2019 - 3:14pm

Former presidential aide Christopher Go has released photos to show President Duterte is not in the hospital.

May 19, 2019 - 1:14pm

The Palace says rumors that President Rodrigo Duterte is in Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan are not true.

The 74-year-old president's time away from the public eye has repeatedly raised questions about his health. The Palace has also repeatedly said that the president is fine and that it will inform the public in case he is seriously ill.

In October 2018, three Palace officials made similar denials when it was rumored that Duterte was in Cardinal Santos. The president later disclosed that he did go to the hospital for tests

Previous absences from public events have been explained as the president resting, doing paperwork, or watching movies online.

February 3, 2019 - 5:40pm

President Duterte mocks those who spread rumors that he is dead.

"For those who believe in the news that I passed away, then I request of you, please pray for the eternal repose of my soul," he says.

— Alexis Romero

October 9, 2018 - 6:27pm

President Duterte, fielding questions from reporters, on Tuesday evening, says he went to Hong Kong to buy pants and shirts.

"Whenever I go back to Davao for a short rest, wala na akong damit kasi tumaba na ako," he says.

He reiterates, as earlier reported by members of the cabinet, that he does not have cancer.

October 7, 2018 - 1:59pm

Liberal Party President Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan urges the public to focus on the country's economic health instead amid President Duterte's admission that he went to undergo tests at the Cardinal Santos hospital.

"The problem is we do not know if the President is serious or not. If this is true or simply another remark, he can claim it to be a joke. If he is serious, then full disclosure is required but if not, then it would be best that we stop such talk and focus our time and attention on looking for solutions to the serious problems of spiraling high prices of food, gasoline, and other basic commodities," Pangilinan said in a statement Sunday.

Last Friday, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced that the country's headline inflation further soared to a new nine-year high of 6.7 percent in September.

The Palace meanwhile assured the public on Sunday that the Duterte administration is "working double time" to ensure prices of basic goods become stable.

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