President Duterte’s chief and closest personal aide yesterday denied allegations that he went to China for medication during his relatively long retreat from public attention during the holiday season.
In a chance interview at the sidelines of an event in Malacañang, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go denied former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad’s claim in a column published in another newspaper that the President went to the Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, China during on the wee days of December to early January.
Go said that his boss, Duterte, looks robust and is not sickly.
“Is that what you call sick? If (Mr. Duterte is) sick, then he should appear weary. But he is not,” Go told reporters pointing out how active and talkative the President is.
“I am one hundred percent sure that we did not went out of the country. You can verify it with the Chinese hospital and even with the (Bureau of) Immigrations,” he added.
Citing “usually reliable sources,” Tatad, in his article Monday at the Manila Times, claimed that “President Duterte (left) Davao on board a private executive plane that flew him to China for a meeting with doctors at the world-famous Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou (formerly Canton), Guangdong Province.”
“The nation did not know his exact physical condition or where he was. This raises a serious national security question, which (Duterte) must now address,” the former senator said.
But if there’s anybody who appears to be sick, Go said, it’s Tatad.
“Maybe (Tatad) was the one who went for the check-up,” the Chief Executive’s personal aide added.
During the campaign season, anti-Duterte propagandists claimed that the 71-year-old longtime Davao City mayor was suffering from cancer. It eventually turned out that it was Duterte’s former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, who was being treated for cancer.
Previously asked where Duterte was during the first week of January, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the usually visible President was “spending private family time” in Davao City.