Duterte’s ‘battle vs cancer’ black propaganda—spokesperson
DAVAO CITY—Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has no throat cancer, contrary to rumors being peddled on social media, sources said Saturday.
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesperson, described veteran journalist Philip Lustre’s claim about Duterte battling the Big C as black propaganda.
“Black propaganda is the stuff of people who will be swept into the dustbin of history,” he said.
In his Facebook post, which has since been shared by users such as comedianne Cynthia Patag, Lustre wrote that Duterte has cancer.
“Just yesterday, somebody leaked the information to me that Davao City Rodrigo Duterte has cancer of the throat,” Lustre said.
He said this was the reason why Duterte decided not to run.
“His family is strongly against any presidential run for him because the nationwide political campaign would exacerbate his throat cancer. His health condition could cascade to terminal stage. The info was given to me by a reliable source, who was not authorized to speak about his illness,” Lustre said.
He said, “Duterte likewise indicated his current physical state in an open forum he had with ABC-5 very recently. Somebody in the audience asked Duterte why he was frequently holding the left side of his jaw and neck. Duterte made reference to his health situation cascading from Stage One to Stage Four without categorically saying that he has the Big C.”
Two other sources, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said what they knew was that the mayor was diagnosed with a suspected case of Buerger’s disease, a rare illness affecting the nerves and veins, about 20 years ago.
“That was why he stopped smoking,” one of the sources said, adding that the mayor had recovered since then because the disease was still in its early stage.
Even Duterte himself talked about his “numerous illnesses” during his public appearance but none of them was cancer.
He also said these were among the reasons he wanted to retire from politics and had been encouraging his daughter, former mayor Sara Duterte, to run for mayor anew.
Duterte also said he was already old and he wants to return to private life.
The other source said Duterte also suffered a slipped disc after falling off a big bike about two years ago.
Laviña did not confirm the information provided by the two other sources but added that Duterte was indeed “sick.”
“Mayor Rody Duterte is sick and tired of our rotten system. That is why he has been advocating for change in our country,” he said.
Laviña also said he would “not want to waste time on people whose only aim is to destroy others.”
“I was informed Philip Lustre has been hitting Duterte from Day 1,” he said.
Laviña said he believes that “the Filipino masses are not fools to fall for these dirty tricks characterizing trapo politics that we want to change in our country,” he said.
Instead, he said the focus should be “on the big tasks in transforming our country, not on these petty issues and black propaganda.”
Commenting further on Lustre’s claim, Laviña said: “It is his burden now to show proof about Duterte’s health condition since he is the one who opened it.”
“If he is worried about Duterte’s health condition, he might as well tell the public of the health condition of his friend Vice President Jejomar Binay,” Laviña suggested.
He said as far as Duterte’s camp was concerned, the mayor was healthy.
“Mayor Duterte has been moving around the country for more than 12 months (already) and that in itself is his state of health,” Laviña said.
“He has been on the road for over a year now, a clear proof of his good state of health,” he added. Allan Nawal and Germelina Lacorte/RAM
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