President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Tuesday that he undergoes blood testing “almost every other day” due to a smoking-related illness.
Duterte disclosed this in a speech before tuberculosis experts who gathered in Pasay City for the 7th Union Asia Pacific Regional Conference.
“I'm 74 years old. I do not want to die of TB [tuberculosis]. I do not want to die of lung cancer. As a matter of fact, I got—I acquired Buerger's disease from smoking. That is why my doctor is here. She gets my blood. Was it... Ah see? Almost every other day,” he said.
“And I said, 'Doctor, leave me some for—to survive and this is just a week.' I... It's about Buerger's disease. But I have stopped smoking,” he added.
Last December, Duterte said he paid a visit to a hospital where he got his blood drawn.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo then explained that it was a regular blood test and the public should not worry about it.
Duterte previously revealed that he has Buerger's disease, a condition that causes constriction of the blood vessels due to nicotine, and Barrett's esophagus, a disease involving the tissue in the esophagus.
He had also admitted to having a misaligned spine as a result of a motorcycle accident years ago.
Duterte is sensitive about speculations regarding his health, often resorting to crude language and humor to reject claims from critics that he is in bad shape.
Malacañang, however, is against releasing any medical bulletin of the President, arguing the Constitution only requires disclosure in case of serious illness. —KG, GMA News