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Duterte at risk of cancer an old assessment made by doctors before he became president — Palace

Malacañang said that the advice given to President Duterte to stop drinking or risk having cancer was given to him by his doctors even before he became the president of the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte revealed in a televised public address on Tuesday that his doctors warned him that his Barrett’s Disease is nearing Stage 1 cancer because of his drinking habits.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Roque said that people are “putting too much meaning” on what the President said.

“I think people are putting too much meaning in that statement. I think that advice was given to him a long time ago when the President was still drinking,” he told “The Source” on Wednesday.

“He has since stopped drinking and as far as I know, since he became President, he has not resumed drinking,” he added.

Roque said President Duterte does not have cancer and if he does, it would have been very evident.

“And so far, he is okay. As far as I know, there is no cancer,” he said.

“I think everyone saw how the President’s demeanor was. Cancer Stage I for a prolonged period of time would need treatment that would have adverse effects on his physical appearance, even,” he added.

“I think people should appreciate and base their perception of the President’s health as they saw him. Every week, the latest being last Tuesday,” he added.

According to the Palace official, President Duterte has always been transparent about his health and assured the public that he will inform them of any serious condition. He also said that there was no need to issue a medical bulletin.

“In case he has a serious illness, he will have to divulge his medical condition to the public and I assure everyone that as officers of the court, the President and I will divulge any serious illness to the public pursuant to the Constitution,” Roque said.

“As far as the President’s medical condition is concerned, take note, it came from his own mouth. It’s not as if he’s trying to hide anything. He’s very transparent. He has repeated what his doctors have said and that is why he has taken specific courses of action, i.e., he stopped drinking,” he added.

Roque assured that President Duterte is as healthy as any 75-year-old.

“He’s healthy as any 75-year-old could be in the Philippines and that is the reason why he regularly delivers his message to the people weekly so that they would know and see him and judge for themselves,” he said.

In July, Roque said President Duterte was 88 percent healthy. He said that this assessment remains the same in August.

President Duterte had a cancer scare in October, 2018, after he revealed that they found a growth during his endoscopy. Roque said on Wednesday that the growth found could not have been cancerous.

“Whatever it is, it could not have been cancerous because as you can see, the condition of the President is, he is fine,” he said.

“Obviously, [if] the endoscopy turned out that there was cancer there, then we would see in the President’s physical condition if there already was cancer. There would be chemotherapy, for instance, and chemotherapy leads to hair loss and general weakening—a condition you do not see in the President. He is fit and healthy for a person his age,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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