Duterte camp denies mayor has throat cancer

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Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson said black propaganda is the "stuff of people who will be swept into the dustbin of history."

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed a claim of a journalist that the mayor is suffering from throat cancer.

Journalist Philip Lustre, Jr. (Philip Jr Lustre on Facebook) posted on his account on Saturday (September 12) that a reliable source told him Duterte was suffering from cancer of the throat.

Lustre added that this condition could be the reason why the mayor clearly said that he was not running for president in 2016 but would retire instead.

"His family is strongly against any presidential run for him because the nationwide political campaign would exacerbate his throat cancer. His health condition could cascade to terminal stage. The info was given to me by a reliable source, who was not authorized to speak about his illness," Lustre posted on his Facebook account, which quickly became viral with 219 shares as of this posting.

"I was also told that Duterte admitted to a vice presidential candidate that he indeed has cancer of the throat. He told the vice presidential candidate that their camp had to wait for his decision because of health issues, which he had to confront. This is the reason he could not decide despite the frequent encouragement by his fans for him to run for president," Lustre added.

DUTERTE HAS CANCER. Just yesterday, somebody leaked the information to me that Davao City Rodrigo Duterte has cancer of...

Posted by Philip Jr Lustre on Friday, September 11, 2015
 

Duterte's appointed spokesperson Peter Laviña said in a Facebook post that Lustre's post was nothing but black propaganda.

"He [Duterte] has been on the road for over a year now, a clear proof of his good state of health. I am sick too of character assassins whose only aim is to destroy others," he said.

He said that the Filipino masses would not fall for these "dirty tricks."

Duterte, a smoker for decades, admitted having Buerger's disease. The disease causes inflammation and thrombosis in small and medium-sized blood vessels, typically in the legs and leading to gangrene. It has been associated with smoking.

And recently, the mayor admitted to be suffering from a spinal problem brought about by a motorcycle accident. Duterte said there was a constant pain in his head that made him sleep and wake up with a headache.

On one occasion, Duterte even showed some patches on his back which, he said, eased the pain he was feeling 24 hours a day. But not once did Duterte admit that he was suffering from cancer.