Duterte also assures nation he does not have cancer
President Rodrigo Duterte expressed confidence that leftist groups will not seek his ouster even if they have joined protest rallies against the hero’s burial for former president Ferdinand Marcos.
Amid rumors of an ouster plot against him and unclear reports about his illnesses, Duterte also assured the nation that even as he suffers from a myriad of health problems, he does not have cancer.
“The Reds would never demand my ouster. They will die for me, believe me. That’s the reason why I was able to convince them for [peace]talks,” Duterte said during the Wallace Business Forum in Malacañang on Monday night.
The government and the communist rebels are preparing for the next round of talks in Rome next month.
“Let me tell you frankly, in every demonstration, it’s the yellow[s]who [are]shouting for my ouster. But you will never hear it from the communists because I am the President belonging to the left actually,” the President said.
Yellow is the color associated with the Liberal Party and former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Duterte said he is the “idol” of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“You can go to the mountains and ask the regular armed NPA. Ask them, ‘Who is your idol?’ So, let me disabuse your mind about this,” he added.
At the same time, the Chief Executive admitted that he suffers from a lot of discomfort but emphasized he does not have cancer.
He gave the assurance amid rumors of an ouster plot against him and unclear reports about his illnesses.
“You arrest me, oust me? Go ahead. So, fine. Oust me, good. Assassinate me, better. I have this migraine everyday. I had a bad sleep. And I have a lot of issues with my spinal,” the President said.
Duterte, 71, confirmed that he has Barrett’s esophagus and Buerger’s disease.
“I might as well tell you about my medical history. Don’t believe in cancer. What I have is really Buerger’s disease. It’s an acquired thing that you get from smoking because of nicotine. Nicotine constricts the vessel. Alcohol dilates the vessel,” he said.
Barrett’s esophagus can sometimes develop into cancer of the esophagus. This condition is mostly found among people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)–a chronic regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the lower esophagus.
Buerger’s disease is a recurring inflammation and clotting of small and medium arteries and veins of the hands and feet and is attributed to smoking.
Duterte revealed that he has to push a nerve below his ears to somehow relieve his pain.
“My doctor would want to operate but you know my wife was a nurse and she used to work in the United States, and she said a lot of [spinal]operations went awry,” he said.
“I cannot afford the operation, not because I do not have the money. I have the money to pay for it. It’s because my wife said that when a nerve is cut, you are dead forever,” the President added.
Duterte also admitted using Fentanyl patches to stop his severe chronic pain. His doctor, however, told him to stop using it because his cognitive ability would be affected.
“Fentanyl, it’s a pain killer. It’s being used by patients with cancer. I was only given a fourth of that square thing. There was a time that I took two. My doctor learned that I was using the whole patch because I felt better. He made me stop,” he said.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella gave assurances that there is “nothing serious” about the President’s condition.
“Regarding the President’s health, there’s really absolutely nothing to worry about. Whatever he mentioned is just part of wear and tear. But he is OK, in fact, if I may be allowed to say it, he is looking more guapo [good-looking] these days,” Abella told reporters.