NO need to worry about President Rodrigo Duterte’s health, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
This, after Duterte, in a video clip during his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday, appeared to lose his balance, prompting one of his security aides to hold him.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing at Subic Bay Freeport Zone, said Duterte merely lost his footing because of the slippery carpet.
“Wala pong problema sa kalusugan ni Presidente. Medyo nadulas lang po siya,” Roque said. “Siguro dahil linis na linis iyan, eh madulas nang kaunti ‘yung carpet lalo kung ikaw ay naka-leather shoes.”
Duterte was supposed to deliver his last SONA for just less than an hour.
He, however, ended up being the president holding the record for delivering the longest SONA after his final address to the nation ran for two hours and 45 minutes.
Roque also denied rumors that Duterte was rushed to a hospital after his SONA.
To allay concerns over Duterte’s health, Roque said the Chief Executive even exchanged pleasantries with some lawmakers after delivering his SONA and stayed at the Batasang Pambansa until 8:30 p.m.
“Mga 8:30 na po siya umalis ng Kongreso dahil mukhang nag-enjoy po sa kaniyang bidahan sa mga miyembro ng Kongreso,” Roque said.
Duterte, 76, has repeatedly assured the public that he can still perform his duties despite his admission that his ailments are taking a toll on his health.
Duterte has muscle spasms and is battling chronic back pains and migraines.
He also has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that weakens skeletal muscles responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body.
Duterte is also suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Buerger’s disease, a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
He also informed the public in October 2018 that the supposed “growth” found in his digestive tract tested negative for cancer.
Criticisms after SONA expected
Meantime, Roque said critics’ displeasure over Duterte’s last SONA no longer came as a surprise.
Roque issued the statement after opposition Makabayan bloc lawmakers branded Duterte’s final SONA as a “joke of the nation.”
“Unang-una, hindi po namin inaasahan na pupurihin ng oposisyon ang SONA,” he said. “Wala namang pumupuri talaga sa SONA kapag ikaw ay nasa hanay ng oposisyon. Syempre, wala kang gagawin kundi ookrayin yung sinabi ng Presidente dahil oposisyon ka.”
Roque, nevertheless, said Duterte’s SONA is “unique” because his Cabinet members already conducted pre-SONA conferences to discuss the administration’s plans in its last year in office.
Talk to the People on Wednesday
Roque said Duterte would also address the nation anew this week, as the President is set to hold his regular Talk to the People on Wednesday night.
Duterte holds Talk to the People every week to inform the public about the government’s actions to defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
He is usually joined by select members of his Cabinet, medical experts, and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases core members. Philippine News Agency