Malacañang on Wednesday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte had suffered a mild stroke after the Chief Executive disappeared from public view for about a week.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued the denial in reaction to the claim of former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad in his The Manila Times column that Duterte went to a hospital for dialysis during his five-day break.
“You know, he showed himself. Kit Tatad may just be creating fantasies,” Abella told reporters during a news conference.
In his Times column on Monday, Tatad claimed to have received information from “highly informed sources” that the President had “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.
Abella dismissed Tatad’s claims, saying the former senator “must be sourcing something that nobody knows about.”
Tatad wrote in January that Duterte secretly went to the Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, which the Palace also denied. Tatad became the subject of the President’s tirades the following month.
Duterte, who usually has two to three engagements per day, went on a five-day “private time” to rest last week, the Palace said.
The 72-year-old Chief Executive 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 transfer of slain soldiers to the Marines headquarters in Taguig City from Pasay City.
The President failed to attend the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies for the 119th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain at Rizal Park in Manila.
Five days later, the President emerged in Butuan City to visit soldiers, reading a few lines from his prepared speech before giving his usual extemporaneous talk.
Speaking to reporters in Butuan City on Saturday, Duterte said he was in good health, adding that his last medical examination was conducted last year.
“My state of health is: What you see is what you get,” the President said.
Duterte had admitted to having spinal problems, migraine and Buerger’s disease, an ailment that causes the swelling of arteries and veins that afflicts smokers.