MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that a biopsy he had last week shows he does not have cancer, after calls from the public for information after the 73-year-old missed two official events last week.
When pressed by reporters at a televised briefing at the presidential palace, Duterte said: “It’s negative. They had a suspicion... We can have a drink together. I can give you a run for your money.”
Duterte said he underwent tests “just to satisfy the family’s urgings. But, if it were up to me. I do not need...I don’t fear...I don’t care.”
He also denied taking another medical test in Hong Kong during the weekend when he was seen shopping with his partner and youngest daughter.
Duterte’s acting interior secretary told reporters the president informed the Cabinet of the results during a Monday night meeting, prompting applause.
The president made an unscheduled visit to hospital when doctors asked him to repeat digestive tract procedures three weeks after similar tests.
Duterte’s condition “is not serious” and will remain a confidential matter, his spokesman, Harry Roque, told a separate news briefing.
The constitution provides for the public to be told of the state of health of an incumbent president, if serious.
“The constitution says that you must let the people know, but the procedure is not to go direct to the people. The cabinet should be the one to decide if you are fully incapacitated to discharge the functions of your office,” Duterte said.
Duterte’s health was a constant source of speculation after he disappeared from public view for a week last year but his aides dismissed rumours about his condition.
Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Nick Macfie