Duterte death rumor made up by critics, enemies – Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 4) — Malacañang on Monday downplayed the rumored "death" of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the issue was only made up by the president's critics.

In a media briefing, his spokesman Salvador Panelo slammed the government's critics anew for supposedly spreading what he initially called "fake news."

"Eh kasi yung makukulit (the persistent ones), they cannot accept the fact that this president appears to be indestructible and apparently immune from any illness despite his punishing schedule. They just kill him in their minds," Panelo said.

"Sinasadya nga nila yun eh, ng mga kritiko. Actually galing yun sa mga kalaban ni Presidente, hindi sa ordinaryong tao," he added.

[Translation: They're doing it on purpose. Actually, it (the rumor) came from the enemies of the president, not from ordinary people.]

A report that the 73-year-old Duterte has died circulated over the weekend-- days after the chief executive skipped a peace and order event in Tacloban as he was "not feeling well."

Panelo reiterated the President is just resting and recovering from a "slight fever" and maintained there's no need for the latter to release a medical bulletin.

"Nagpahinga lang, medical report na agad? Pag serious illness lang. Hindi naman eh," the spokesman said.

[Translation: He just rested, why should we ask for a medical report? That's only for serious illness. But it's not.]

"He felt siguro (perhaps) his body was not up to performing any activity that day so he canceled all activities to rest. We should commend him for that, which means he's taking care of himself. He's not pushing his body to the limits."

Duterte, in a Facebook video shared by partner Honeylet Avanceña on Sunday, addressed the speculations on his death and weakening health. 

"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," he said in the clip.

The President, in previous speeches, admitted to having several medical conditions-- prompting critics to call for transparency on his health.

The President said he had suffered migraines, nausea, pain due to a spinal injury, Buerger's disease or a disorder affecting blood vessels, and Barrett's esophagus or a complication which causes heartburn or acid indigestion.

Duterte continued to shrug off rumors on his health problems-- when a few detractors pointed out the visible darkening of his face and skin. He also visited the hospital on the eve of his 2018 State of the Nation Address.