The (false) online rumors that President Duterte is dead

February 4, 2019 - 7:47 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte dispelled rumors on social media that he died after not appearing in public for a few days.

He appeared on three videos to show that he is very much alive and joked that people who believed the speculations should pray for the “eternal repose” of his soul.

“For those who believe in the news that I passed away, then I request of you, please pray for me, for the eternal repose of my soul. Thank you,” Duterte said.

“I will ask God first if he’s available for interview because I will go there. What is your message? I will relay it. Priests, bishops, everyone. And the last wish of the drug addicts, you list them all. I will be the one to bring them to heaven or hell, it depends,” Duterte added.

While the origin of the rumors could not be traced to the source, one of Duterte’s critics on February 2, Saturday, posted a tweet that was perceived as referring to the chief executive’s supposed passing.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo slammed the allegations and said that it was the work of Duterte’s “enemies.”

“Eh kasi ‘yung makukulit, they cannot accept the fact that this president appears to be indestructible and apparently immune from any illness despite his punishing schedule. They just kill him in their minds,” Panelo said in a media briefing.

“Sinasadya nga nila ‘yun eh, ng mga kritiko. Actually galing ‘yun sa mga kalaban ni Presidente, hindi sa ordinaryong tao,” he continued.

The spokesperson added that Duterte only had a “slight fever” following his non-appearance at a peace and order summit on February 1, Friday.

Philippines President Duterte attends the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Singapore
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte attends the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit in Singapore, November 15, 2018. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

He was supposed to attend the event but canceled because he was “not feeling well.”

Duterte’s last public appearance was on January 29, Tuesday, when he attended the premiere night of the biopic “Bato: The General Ronald dela Rosa Story” at SM Megamall with the former PNP chief himself and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Duterte and his health 

At 73-years-old, Duterte is the oldest elected president of the Philippines. He has been urged by the public to issue medical bulletins about his health.

Duterte previously disclosed that he has Barrett’s disease, a medical condition encountered by people who have gastroesophageal reflux or GERD.

According to him, it was the result of the constant drinking and smoking he had during his younger years.

The chief executive on November 2018 had also skipped several meetings during the Asia-Pacific Summit held in Singapore, including a gala dinner with world leaders.

He spent the time for “power naps” and reasoned that he needed it to “sustain endurance.”