Duterte did not Seek Cancer Treatment in China: Philippine Official
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's longtime aide brushed off rumors on Monday that the tough talking leader paid a visit to a cancer hospital in China to seek treatment.
"Not true. One hundred percent, hindi kami lumbas [ng bansa] (we did not leave the country)," Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher "Bong" Go said.
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He further said that anyone can verify with Chinese hospital or immigration records to determine if Duterte really travelled abroad for a checkup during his private time, the Philippine Star reported.
The news came after a column by former Sen. Francisco Tatad published on The Manila Times on Monday revealed that the president spent his New Year at the Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, China. He claimed that he had received reports that Duterte flew via a private plane to meet with Chinese physicians.
He further hinted that Duterte was last seen on public while leading the Rizal Day commemoration rites on Dec. 30 and visiting the bombing victims in Leyte before the New Year. The 71-year-old president was then next seen on Manila on Friday to visit the Russian warship that docked in the country, according to the GMA News.
Meanwhile, Tatad also reminded Duterte of the experience of former President Ferdinand Marcos, who underwent kidney transplants while Malacañang hid his actual health status.
Although Duterte denied that he is suffering from cancer, the president has previously admitted that he has been dealing with Buerger's disease, Barrett's esophagus, and spinal problems, which he inflicted in a motorbike accident. He also said he has to deal with migraine every day.
Officials have so far maintained that Duterte is in a healthy state to carry out his duty as the country's chief executive.