MANILA,, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte neither confirmed nor denied fresh rumors that he went to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City during the weekend.
"I just talked to him, he is neither confirming nor denying that he went to the hospital," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday, May 19.
Panelo had said there was "no truth to the rumor" that the Chief Executive "is confined" in the San Juan City hospital. However, the statement, taking its cue from Duterte, did not dispel rumors that the President at least visited the hospital.
Duterte was supposedly at Bahay Pangarap, his residence within the Malacañang compound, "signing papers" when Panelo spoke with him.
Earlier, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) said Duterte made no such visit.
"For info, as of last night and today, no such incident involving the President took place," said PSG spokesperson Zeerah Blanche Lucrecia on Sunday, in a message to reporters.
"However, we can assure you that the President is well and good," she added.
But asked for Duterte's whereabouts, Lucrecia declined to give more information, citing security protocol.
"I hope you understand that due to security protocols, we cannot divulge the President's location," she said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also said the rumors were "not true." Probable senator-elect Bong Go gave the same response, then later sent media a photo of Duterte at Bahay Pangarap.
Rumors of Duterte visiting the hospital of his trusted doctors comes after another prolonged period of absence from any public events.
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 email@example.com.