Duterte not in "coma," Palace says
President Rodrigo Duterte is healthy and not comatose, Malacanang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go issued the statement after Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, made a post on his Facebook page, citing "latest report" that Duterte "has gone into coma since the afternoon or evening" of Sunday, August 19.
He has cited the "darkness" of Duterte's face when he attended the national conference of the President's San Beda Law fraternity Lex Talionis Saturday night in Davao City.
Duterte's walk and handshake had become more unstable, according to Sison.
In a press briefing, Roque said how could Sison know Duterte's state of health when he is far away in the Netherlands.
"Contrary to what Joma Sison said, the President is fine and well in Davao participating in Kadayawan. He will have a public appearance tomorrow with the League of Cities in Cebu City. As usual Joma Sison does not know what he talks about," he said.
Go said the last time he talked to Duterte was at around 2am Monday when he was on his bed.
"Joma might be dreaming, then he was able to change the letter of his name 'joma' to 'c.' He could be that person (in coma)," Go said in a text message to reporters.
Roque said he talked to former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who was at the Lex Talionis affair, and told him Duterte was fine and the President even stayed in the event until 12 midnight.
"He was in very high spirits. He enjoyed the company of his brods in Lex Talionis. I saw him last Friday. He invited me to go out," he said, adding that he begged off from the President's invitation because he had a flight to Manila only to be stranded at the Davao City airport because of the Xiamen airline incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Asked if the Palace would make public the result of Duterte's routine medical check-up to finally put an end to speculations regarding his state of health, Roque said, " I will ask, but the President already said that he was given a clean bill of health. So that’s actually making public, the results of his medical tests."
He stressed that the public should not listen to whatever Sison has been saying.
"Joma Sison is a spent revolutionary not a doctor. Let’s not listen to him, as far as medical condition is concerned," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS