AFTER a brief health scare last week, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says he has tested negative for cancer, but doctors said he must cease drinking alcohol due to a “badly eroded” colon.
“If you mean was I found positive of cancer? No, it’s not the colon. It’s my Barret’s [esophagus]. It’s badly eroded and I was told to stop drinking years ago,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday, as quoted by ABS-CBN News.
“As of late, I went back to the habit. I don’t know for one reason or another, I just like to drink. Now actually, before I sleep, even if I’m alone, I have three shots before I sleep,” he added.
“I’m not cancerous so don’t be afraid to come near me.”
Duterte added a biopsy done last week shows he does not have cancer, after calls from the public for information after the 73-year-old missed two official events recently.
Duterte said he underwent the tests “just to satisfy the family’s urgings. But, if it were up to me. I do not need…I don’t fear…I don’t care.”
He also denied taking another medical test in Hong Kong during the weekend when he was seen shopping with his partner and youngest daughter, according to Reuters.
Duterte’s acting interior secretary told reporters the president informed the Cabinet of the results during a Monday night meeting, prompting applause.
The president made an unscheduled visit to hospital when doctors asked him to repeat digestive tract procedures three weeks after similar tests.
Duterte ’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said the president’s condition “is not serious” and will remain a confidential matter.
The constitution provides for the public to be told of the state of health of an incumbent president, if serious.
“The constitution says that you must let the people know, but the procedure is not to go direct to the people. The cabinet should be the one to decide if you are fully incapacitated to discharge the functions of your office,” Duterte said.