Malacañang has denied reports that President Rodrigo Duterte suffered a mild stroke after the chief executive disappeared from public view for about a week.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued this in reaction to the claim of former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, a columnist for The Manila Times, that Duterte’s five-day break was health-related.
“You know, he showed himself. Kit Tatad may just be creating fantasies,” Abella told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday.
Tatad, in his column published on Monday, claimed to have received reports that the President has “suffered a mild stroke, which reportedly affected one of his arms, and brought him to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Greenhills last Thursday, where he reportedly also underwent a “peritoneal dialysis.'”
“Neither Malacañang nor the medical center has issued a medical bulletin on this reported episode. But highly informed sources said Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. briefed some members of the Cabinet about it on Friday,” Tatad said.
But Abella dismissed Tatad’s claims, saying the former senator “must be sourcing something that nobody knows about.”
Duterte, who usually has two to three engagements per day, went on a five-day “private time” to rest last week.
The 72-year-old president was last seen in public on June 11 when he went to Cagayan de Oro City to visit wounded soldiers who fought the Maute group in Marawi City and led the dignified transfer of the slain soldiers in Pasay City.
He, however, failed to attend the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies of the 119th anniversary of the Philippine Independence at Rizal Park in Manila.
But five days after, an energized President visited the military in Butuan City. He talked to his men reading few of the lines on his prepared speech and proceeded with his usual extemporaneous talk.
Speaking to reporters in Butuan City on Saturday, Duterte assured that he was in good condition, saying his last medical examination was conducted last year.
“My state of health is: What you see is what you get,” the President said.
Duterte previously admitted that he has spinal problems, migraine and Buerger’s disease, an ailment caused by smoking.