President Duterte has said he is clear of cancer after a “growth” recently discovered in his throat turned out to be benign.
When pressed by reporters at a televised briefing at the Malacañang today (Tuesday, October 9), the president said: “It’s negative. They had a suspicion. We can have a drink together. I can give you a run for your money.
“Do not be afraid to go near me, I will not contaminate you.”
He then said he underwent tests “just to satisfy the family’s urgings. But, if it were up to me. I do not need…I don’t fear…I don’t care”.
As we reported last week, the president said that if the growth discovered during an endoscopy turned out to be state-three cancer, he would not seek treatment. “I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere,” he said.
Today, he also denied taking another medical test during an unannounced visit to Hong Kong over the weekend when he was seen shopping with his common-law wife and youngest daughter.
The president’s acting interior secretary told reporters that the president informed his Cabinet about the all-clear during a meeting last night. His words, he said, prompted applause.
The president made an unscheduled visit to hospital when doctors asked him to repeat digestive tract procedures three weeks after similar tests.
The Philippine constitution provides for the public to be told of the state of health of an incumbent president, if serious.
The president said: “The constitution says that you must let the people know, but the procedure is not to go direct to the people. The cabinet should be the one to decide if you are fully incapacitated to discharge the functions of your office.”
The president’s health has been a frequent source of speculation. On several occasions over the past few years he has disappeared from public view for up to a week.