Duterte drops by hospital day before SONA 2018

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte made a visit to the hospital a day before his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this on Sunday, July 22, saying that Duterte dropped by Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City for a checkup.

"I confirm that the President had a routine medical checkup at Cardinal Santos hospital tonight before rehearsing for the SONA," Roque said.

"He spent about an hour and a half for the routine examination. He was declared to be in good health," the spokesman added.

A source earlier told Rappler that Duterte had an x-ray and visited the cardiology department. The President even had time to have a meal inside the hospital, added the source.

As of 9 pm, Duterte was back in Malacañang rehearsing his SONA, said Roque.

The next day, the President will deliver his 3rd SONA at the Batasang Pambansa.

The 73-year-old Duterte has admitted to a slew of medical conditions, including Buerger's disease and Barrett's esophagus.

Buerger's disease is a rare condition involving the constriction of blood vessels in the arms and legs, blocking blood flow. This leads to damaged or destroyed skin tissue in the arms and legs, particularly in the hands and feet.

Barrett's esophagus is a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Smoking is a risk factor. In people with GERD, stomach contents flow backward into the esophagus which is not protected from the acid the stomach produces. (READ: Duterte says he vomited on plane from Seoul to Manila)

Duterte has had to skip certain events, supposedly due to health reasons. For instance, he skipped the Independence Day rites at Luneta last year.

The President has also often complained of "daily migraines" and spinal problems.

He has been to Cardinal Santos Medical Center at least twice before for his health concerns. During the 2016 campaign season, he even stayed overnight after experiencing a severe migraine, a condition that forced him to skip an event where he was to give a speech. – 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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