Duterte back in action, says ‘matagal pa ako’

Pia Ranada
Duterte back in action, says ‘matagal pa ako’
President Rodrigo Duterte says he's been in Davao City 'resting' and, among other things, watching Netflix

MANILA, Philippines – Admitting he was in Davao City to get some rest, President Rodrigo Duterte was back to giving a long speech in his first public event since rumors he was comatose began circulating.

On Tuesday, August 21, Duterte spent two hours delivering a speech in front of local government officials in Cebu City.

At the League of Municipalities event, he said he had been resting in his hometown watching, among other things, Netflix.

“I’m in Davao because I’m resting,” he said.

Just that afternoon, he had watched a Netflix show or movie about the drug cartels in Mexico and Jamaica.

“Señalosa (Sinaloa), Medellin, look at those, you have the history, you have the Netflix. Panoorin mo lahat ‘yung ginawa nila sa bayan nila (Watch everything they did to their country). In Jamaica – I was watching it kaninang hapon (this afternoon),” he said.

He denied he entered into a coma over the weekend and said he still has many years ahead of him. Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison was among those who posted in public about the rumors.

“I do not know what he (Sison) means by [I am] comatose. Kama lang sana ako. Comatose? Matagal pa ako (I was only in bed. Comatose? I still have a long life ahead of me),”said Duterte.

The President is expected to spend the entire week in Davao City as he attends events in Mindanao and the Visayas – including a possible meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari and a military camp function.

The President, in hs Tuesday speech, repeated his complaint about his spinal problems, which supposedly resulted from motorcycle accidents. Duterte is a fan of big bikes. He said that, on a daily basis, he feels level “7” pain out of a scale of 10.

Thus far, the public relies merely on the word of Duterte or his spokesmen on the state of his health. Malacañang says there is no need to release medical bulletins issued by Duterte’s doctors to quell concerns about his health.

Duterte calls Sison ‘freeloader’

Duterte also went back to slamming Sison, calling him a “freeloader” and “discredited leader.”

He advised the communist leader, who happens to be his former professor, to transfer from the Netherlands, where Sison has been in exile for decades, to another country.

“Ask another country to take you…Belgium, Germany. You stop. Kawawa ‘yung Norwegian people (The Norwegian people are pitiful),” said Duterte, getting the name of the people of the Netherlands wrong.

In response to Sison’s post about the coma rumors, Duterte claimed the communist leader was abusing the Netherlands’ hospitality by going “in and out” of medical facilities due to cancer. Sison has denied having any type of cancer. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.