‘I’m alive’: Duterte disproves death rumors online
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte took to social media on Sunday to dispel rumors that he had passed away, after he decided to skip an event in Leyte days ago because he was not feeling well.
His partner, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, posted three brief videos on her Facebook account, featuring her and the President in Davao City.
The first video showed Avanceña holding up a copy of the day’s newspaper, with Mr. Duterte seated across the table.
The two succeeding videos featured the President speaking briefly, addressing speculation that he passed away over the weekend.
“My reaction to my passing away: I will ask God first if He’s available for interview because I will go there. What are your messages? I will bring them with me. Priests, bishops, everyone,” he said.
He added: “And the last wish of the drug addicts, write up a list. I will bring it myself to heaven or to hell, it depends.”
‘Pray for me’
In the second video, the President told those who believed the death rumors to pray for 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,” the President said.
The President’s longtime aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, similarly denied speculations of the President’s ill health.
“Not true. He’s in Davao. He is fine,” Go said in a text message to reporters.
For her part, the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, said her father was feeling fine.
“I haven’t been called to his deathbed, so I guess he is still okay. The haters can wait, I will post a picture when the time comes,” the younger Duterte said in a text message.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the President was “not Superman. He’s only a human being who is ‘not feeling well’ sometimes.”
The President’s camp issued the statements following speculation on social media that he passed away due to illness over the weekend.
One rumor on Facebook speculated that Mr. Duterte was already dead and Vice President Leni Robredo needs more security personnel to guard her.
Last Friday, the President chose to skip an event in Palo, Leyte, as he was “not feeling well,” according to Go.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, however, said the President decided not to attend the event because of other “pressing commitments.”
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