President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows a document while answering queries from members of the Malacañang Press Corps following the oath-taking ceremony of their newly-elected officials at the Malacañan Palace on October 9, 2018. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MALACAÑANG — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, October 9, announced that his medical exam result turned out to be negative from any illness.

The Chief Executive gladly entertained the media’s questions about his health condition during the Malacanang Press Corps’ (MPC) newly elected officials oath-taking ceremony here at the Heroes Hall.

When asked about the result of his medical examination last Wednesday, October 3, he said, “It’s negative. They had a suspicion but they had this specimen taken out from both the esophageal tube and somewhere here. Hindi pa ako cancerous so do not be afraid to go near me. I will not contaminate you.”

He then clarified that it was not his colon that is damaged but his esophagus. He said he has been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus which is caused by severe Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

“It’s not the colon. It’s my Barrett. Dito ‘yan. It’s badly eroded because I was told to stop drinking years ago, but of late, bumalik kasi ako,” he explained.

President Duterte said that it was his family who urged him to retake the medical exam a month ago in Davao City.

“A month ago, I was telling you the truth that I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy in Davao City. Apparently, my doctors here were not really convinced so they had a retake and that was that. Tapos okay naman. Okay as in okay. And I will show you. I will drink again. Maniwala ka diyan sa doctor,” he said.

“Wala naman sila suspicion. They just want a retake. Nothing serious actually ang nasagot. They said, ‘If you have time.’ And there was no other time except I had to do it in a jiffy,” he added.

Before the media interview, the new officers took their oath of office: Christina Mendez (MPC President), Joseph Thaddeus Morong (Vice President for Television), Henry Uri (Vice President for Radio), Jocelyn Montemayor-Reyes (Vice President for Print), Cristina Jose (Secretary), Evelyn de Jesus-Quiroz (Treasurer), Maricel Halili-Gahol (Auditor), and Leo Palo III and Chona Yu (Sergeants at Arms).

Revamp in the President’s Cabinet

Meanwhile, in the same event, President Duterte also answered questions about the possible revamp among his cabinet members.

The Chief Executive named some of his executives who are running for the 2019 elections. He mentioned Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Guiling Mamondiong.

The President did not mention official names for their replacements, but he said “Namili na kaagad ako ng tao” to fill the positions.

President Duterte also answered the question regarding his decision to appoint General Rolando Bautista as the new secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). “Gusto ko talaga kasi isang utos lang, nagagawa. Just like Cimatu when I said, ‘You fix Boracay in six months time.’ Sabi ko kay Del Rosario, ‘General, gawaan mo ako ng bahay. About 100 in one month.’ Nagawa.”

His decision came about when he urged the agency to directly give the assistance to the beneficiaries in the calamity-affected areas and not to local mayors. “Sabi ko, kasi they’re giving all the funds, ‘yung mga sa senior citizens, 4Ps, sa mayor. Pati gusto ng mga mayor na i-preposition ‘yung intended relief goods in times of crisis doon sa bodega nila.”

“So sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Look, why don’t you just give the money directly? It is national funds. It is national relief goods.’ Kung ibigay mo ‘yan sa mayor, dahan-dahan mawala ‘yan. I know. I’ve been mayor,” he emphasized.

The President also said that he respects bureaucracy. However, in times of disasters “you have to cut corners but not illegal” to ensure the assistance will be given equally.

“I want to be fair. Kasi kung ibigay mo sa mayor, ang bigyan niya ‘yung mga supporters niya in times of crisis. Eh partisan eh. So this is not a place where you have that luxury of choice. It must be given to the intended persons, who would need it.” President Duterte said.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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