Duterte signing papers, not in hospital

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte signing papers, not in hospital
President Duterte holds yesterday’s issue of The Philippine STAR at his office in Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang Park. The image was released by former presidential aide Christopher Go to dispel rumors that Duterte is confined in a hospital.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday denied that President Duterte was confined in a hospital, although whether he went to a medical facility for a check-up was unclear.

“There is no truth to the rumor circulating that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is confined at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“The President is in his residence at the Palace, signing papers. I just talked to him, he is neither confirming nor denying that he went to the hospital,” Panelo added.

Duterte’s weeklong absence from the public eye has triggered fresh speculations about his health.

Yesterday, rumors swirled that the 74-year-old Chief Executive was confined at Cardinal Santos, the same hospital where he underwent endoscopy last year.

Some social media users said the hospital was placed on code blue alert and its parking area was restricted to the public because a very important person or VIP was in the emergency room.

Code blue means there is an emergency situation in which a patient is in cardiopulmonary arrest, requiring a team of providers to rush to specific location and begin immediate resuscitative efforts, according to medical website MedicineNet.

In a text message, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also said the rumors were “not true.”

“He should probably be in his quarters and resting,” Medialdea replied when asked about Duterte’s whereabouts.

To also dispel rumors that Duterte is in hospital, former presidential aide Bong Go released photos showing the President reading newspapers at Bahay Pangarap, his residence within Malacañang compound.

Clad in white shirt and blue shorts, Duterte was seated on a chair and was holding a copy of yesterday’s issue of The STAR.

Duterte was last seen in public on May 13, when he cast his vote for the midterm polls in Davao City. He did not have public engagements for the rest of the week.

It was not the first time Duterte was out of the public eye for at least five days. He did not have official activities from June 12 to 16, 2017; from June 20 to 26 in the same year; and from April 29 to May 4 this year.

Officials would claim that the Chief Executive, known for his hectic schedule and lengthy, freewheeling speeches, was resting or was doing paperwork.

Duterte had previously admitted suffering from various ailments, but officials insist he is capable of performing his responsibilities. He had also said he has acute bronchitis, a migraine related to a spinal injury he sustained in a motorcycle accident in the 1960s, and Buerger’s disease, an ailment related to smoking. – With Paolo Romero

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