Duterte's Health Is a Public Matter, Say 65 Percent in SWS Survey
President Rodrigo Duterte's health is a "public matter," according to 65% of respondents in a Social Weather Stations survey.
The 76-year-old Duterte disappeared from the public eye for two weeks, during the worst of the pandemic, before he reemerged late Monday evening in a taped address. However, the SWS telephone poll was done on Sept. 17 to 20, covering 1,249 adults.
The respondents were asked what they thought of the President's health and choose between two replies: it's a public matter (65%) and it's a private matter (32%). The rest didn't know enough about the matter to answer either way, SWS said.
Duterte did not have public engagements for two weeks to avoid getting sick as three Cabinet secretaries and several Presidential Security Group members caught the virus during that time.
During those two weeks, Duterte's longtime aide, Sen. Bong Go, released photos of the President jogging, riding a bike and playing golf during the wee hours. At that time, #NasaanAngPangulo was trending on social media.
Duterte reemerged late Monday, saying he was healthy enough to discharge his duties and those who wish him dead should "pray harder."
He said there was "nothing wrong" with him jogging and riding a bike during the wee hours because "that is not taking the people's time."
Duterte read social media posts from journalist Mon Tulfo and Sen. Leila de Lima about his absence. "Kung sabihin mo, may sakit ako ngayon that could prevent me from exercising the power of the presidency, wala ho."
"If you want me to die early, you must pray harder. What you like to happen is to see me go. You want me to go and you're praying for that," he said.
All along, Duterte said he was just in Malacanang, "sleeping alone." He was largely absent from the public eye to avoid catching COVID-19, as some Cabinet secretaries and members of the Presidential Security Group tested positive for the virus.
Duterte said photos showing him jogging, riding a bike and golfing were taken at around 2 a.m. "You should look at the time I enjoy my hobbies. Gabi yun, 2 a.m."
He said the public should also understand that he needs to go home to Davao City, his home, from time to time.
"If I want to go home there on reasonable basis, I can, because that is my home," he said.
Duterte is the oldest person to be elected president of the Philippines. He previously admitted to suffering from migraines and Buerger’s disease, an illness that affects the veins and the arteries of the limbs.
In October 2019, he cut short an official visit to Japan due to back pains.
This story originally appeared on Reportr.World. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.