MANILA -- After skipping an event in Palo, Leyte on Friday afternoon, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Sunday debunked widespread rumors of his demise by going live on Facebook.
In a series of live videos shared by his partner, Cielito Honeylet AvanceAa on her Facebook account, Duterte was shown sitting across her on a table in their house in Davao City, while being shown a copy of a newspaper.
Duterte poked fun of reports of his death by addressing viewers that he would schedule an interview with God.
The 73-year-old President also asked clergymen to send out a message if they had any and drug pushers to make their last wishes because he would send them to either heaven or hell.
My reaction to my passing away. I will ask God first if Iif he's available for interview kasi pupunta na ako dun (because I'm going there), Duterte said in the video uploaded past 4 p.m.
Ano mga mensahe ninyo? Dadalhin ko. Pari, obsipo, lahat. And yung last wish ng mga durugista, ilista ninyo. Ako na ang magdala doon sa langit o sa impiyerno. Depende lang (What are your messages? I'll relay them. Priests, bishops, everyone. And the last wishes of drug pushers, lists them. I'll bring them to either to heaven or hell. It will depend), Duterte said.
Duterte also quipped about asking viewers to pray for his eternal rest.
For those who believe in the news that I passed away, then I request of you, please pray for the eternal repose of my soul. Thank you, Duterte said.
Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Bong Go, in a message to reporters, also quashed rumors about the President's death, assuring that he was fine.
Not true. Nasa Davao po siya (He is in Davao). He is fine, Go said.
Earlier, MalacaAang reminded the public that the President is just an ordinary human who does not feel well at times, but this did not mean it was a cause of worry.
"Well, he is not Superman, every person does not feel well sometimes. I don't think that the President cancelling an event in Tacloban because he is not feeling well is a cause of concern," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said the President should be admired for knowing when to prioritize his health.
"We should in fact commend the President for knowing when to cancel a trip and resting his body if he is not feeling his usual strong self," he added.
Ready to rumble
Quoting Panelo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also rejected rumors about the President's demise saying he was ready to rumble.
He's (Duterte's) okay and ready to rumble. Hindi naman siya si Superman. Siya ay tao po laman na paminsan-minsan ay (He's only human who sometimes is) 'not feeling well,' Medialdea said.
In January this year, Panelo also reassured the public that Duterte was in good health after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted on Dec. 16-19, 2018 showed that 66 percent of Filipinos are worried about the President's health, an increase of 11 percent from Sept. 2018's 55 percent.
A grateful President assures the nation that there is no cause for worry as he is in a fine state of health, and his punishing schedule of activities in attending and responding to the needs of the citizenry is proof of his good physical condition, Panelo said in a statement.
Even as he performs his constitutional duties, he shall endeavor to always watch over his health, he added.
In August 2018, Duterte also disproved the rumor spread by Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison that he is in coma by going live on Facebook. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency