Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte’s voice was “very strong” and “upbeat” when they talked about rumors regarding the President’s condition over the phone last Sunday.
Palace: Duterte laughing off hospitalization rumors
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte merely laughed off rumors he was confined in hospital, Malacañang said yesterday, as it said the 74-year-old leader does not take speculations about his health seriously.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte’s voice was “very strong” and “upbeat” when they talked about rumors regarding the President’s condition over the phone last Sunday.

“He (Duterte) was there in Bahay Pagbabago, signing papers. I talked to him yesterday, his voice was very strong. None, he just laughed,” Panelo said when asked what happened to the President during the weekend.

Bahay Pagbabago is Duterte’s official residence within Malacañang complex.

“He never mentioned anything (about illnesses). But from the sound of his voice, he was very upbeat,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s prolonged absence from the public eye has fueled fresh speculations about his health. Last Sunday, rumors swirled that the President was confined at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan, the same hospital where he underwent endoscopy last year.

Malacañang denied the rumors but it was not clear whether Duterte underwent medical check-up.

In a statement issued Sunday, Panelo said Duterte neither confirmed nor denied that he went to the hospital.

Panelo was mum when asked if it was possible that Duterte had a medical check-up last Saturday.

“I don’t know that. We did not talk about that,” he said.

“He said, ‘I neither confirm nor deny.’ You draw your own conclusions.”

Asked why the President had chosen not to deny the rumor to settle the issue, Panelo replied: “For him, it’s settled. You have seen him and nothing happened to him. In other words, it was not important to him that he was the subject of rumors.”   – Edu Punay

RODRIGO DUTERTE
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