MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday, National Heroes Day, said he was “tired” of listening to rumors being spread by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison about his supposed poor state of health.
“I am tired of listening to Maria Sison,” Duterte told reporters in a chance interview during the National Heroes Day rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
Sison earlier claimed that Duterte fell into coma — an accusation dispelled by the President after appearing on a Facebook Live video shared by his top aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, and appearing in several events last week.
Go challenged Sison to return to the Philippines and undergo medical checkup with the President.
“Bago po tayo ma-Joma muli ng balita, o fake news, e di umuwi na lang siya dito sa Pilipinas. Sabay sila ni President Duterte (Before we get victimized by fake news again, why doesn’t he just come home to the Philippines? He can have a checkup with the President. Let’s see who is stronger and who will have a clean bill of health),” Go told reporters.
Duterte, meanwhile, joked about welcoming the idea of undergoing surgery in Israel in response to claims of opposition lawmakers, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, that he is going there to have his health checked.
“Kung operahan nila ako doon, e di mas maganda (If they operate on me there, then that would be nice),” Duterte quipped.
The President bared that the real reason he was visiting Israel is to check on the plight of about 28,000 overseas Filipino workers there.
“I’m there because of the 28,000 Filipinos and it’s getting hotter there…There’s something brewing there but in Jordan we have 48,000 Filipinos that’s why I’m bringing (Environment Secretary Roy) Cimatu to prepare for that eventually and just in case war breaks out and then I can have my stomach open, chest open, and my brain,” Duterte said.
Last week, Duterte confirmed sending Cimatu ahead of his visit to Israel.
Cimatu, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, previously served as special envoy for Overseas Filipino Worker-refugees. He was also special envoy to the Middle East during the term of former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte dispelled Sison’s rumor anew, assuring the public he was fine and that he was granted by God the ability to love.
“Sa awa ng Diyos po, kaya ko pang umibig (With God’s mercy, I can still love),” Duterte said.