Duterte confirms hospital visit: ‘I will tell you if it’s cancer’

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed that he was at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center on Wednesday, October 3, where doctors took "samples" so they could conduct more tests.

"I was about to have a sana Cabinet meeting yesterday but 'yung reading ng aking ano somebody advised my doctor just to repeat and get some samples there, but dito uli so I stayed there for one hour sa Cardinal Santos," said Duterte on Thursday, October 4.

As he mentioned where his doctors took samples, he gestured towards his stomach area.

Duterte was speaking to members of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association in Malacañang.

Duterte said the sample-taking was a follow-up to the endoscopy and colonoscopy he previously underwent.

According to Mayo Clinic, endoscopy is a procedure used to examine a person's digestive tract. A long, flexible tube, with a tiny camera, is inserted down a patient's throat and esophagus to examine the esophagus, stomach, and the beginning of the small intestine.

A colonoscopy, meanwhile, is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

When will he refuse treatment?

Duterte said that he is not certain about his state of health but that he would inform the nation if he had cancer.

"I don't know where I'm now physically but I have to wait for that. But I will tell you if it's cancer, it's cancer," said the President.

He implied that the tests somehow had to do with his Barrett's Esophagus, a condition he had admitted to  previously.

Barrett's Esophagus is a complication of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease in which stomach contents flow backward into the esophagus which is not protected from the acid the stomach produces.

"When you lie down, there's that cap that closes so the acid of the stomach does not reach the esophagus. It's corrosive. This one is built to withstand grinding but this one no. So if you get there, it's like you do this in the morning [makes a vomiting motion], that's reflux. Because I ignored it, I didn't stop drinking. So now, nothing. Regret, it always comes late. So it got worse," he said.

If he has cancer in the 3rd stage, Duterte said he would refuse treatment.

"If it's 3rd stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office," he said.

The President's admission comes after Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque denied having any information that Duterte visited the hospital after the President skipped a Palace event on Wednesday.

Presidential aide Bong Go had vehemently denied Duterte was "admitted" to the hospital on Wednesday. (READ: More questions than answers: Roque, Go explain Duterte absence in Palace event)

Malacañang has refused to issue any medical bulletins, denying that Duterte has any serious ailment.

The right of Filipinos to be informed if the President has a serious illness is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

Section 12 of Article VII reads: “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”  Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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