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Duterte told Cabinet he does not have cancer —Interior chief Año

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte does not have cancer, the acting secretary of Interior and Local Government said on Tuesday, after the firebrand leader underwent tests in a private hospital.

The public has been clamoring for information about Duterte’s health after the 73-year-old missed two official events last week.

“He disclosed to us that the result of the test was negative, the one where they took samples from his intestines,” Eduardo Año told reporters in an event posted on Facebook live by local news agencies.

For his part, Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go said: "He's healthy ... he's okay ... he's cancer-free."

Under the Philippine Constitution, the public should be made aware of the state of health of a sitting president. If the leader dies in office, permanently disabled or removed through impeachment, the vice president succeeds to serve the remaining years in a six-year, single term.

Año said Duterte made the disclosure during a Cabinet meeting on Monday night. The meeting was supposed to have happened last Wednesday but the President made an unscheduled visit to a hospital when doctors asked him to repeat digestive track procedures three weeks after similar tests.

Vice President Leni Robredo, a leader of the political opposition, was elected separately in 2016 and could fuel uncertainty in the succession process given the highly polarized political climate.

Rumors of Duterte’s health woes re-emerged after the 73-year-old president missed two official events last week, including a meeting with the Cabinet.

His health was a constant source of speculation after he disappeared from public view for a week last year but his aides dismissed rumors of his medical conditions.

Duterte admitted on Thursday, October 4, that he went for some tests at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center the day before. Duterte made the disclosure during a speech before members of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association

In December 2016, the President said he was suffering from several health problems. “I have this migraine every day,” Duterte told guests at the Wallace Business Forum in Malacañang.

He said he was not getting a good night’s sleep because of a terrible back pain and that he used to take the drug Fentanyl to dull the pain.

The President went on to reveal that he has Barrett’s esophagus and Buerger’s disease, but denied having cancer. “I ... might as well tell you about my medical history. Don’t believe in cancer,” he said.

According to the Mayo Clinic Barrett’s esophagus “is associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.”

On Sunday, October 7, GMA resident analyst Richard Heydarian said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, the President must tell the truth about his health condition for constitutional, historical, political and economic reasons.

Call shave been made for Duterte to be transparent when it comes to his health.

Constitutionally, historically, and for political and economic stability reason, dapat maging transparent ang ating gobyerno pagdating sa kalusugan ni Pangulong Duterte,” Heydarian noted. —Reuters/VDS/RSJ, GMA News Online