Roque dismisses solon's report on 'seriously ill' Duterte as 'misinformation'

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The Presidential spokesperson brushes off new speculations on the President's health, saying it's "misinformation" and "wishful thinking" (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 26) — An opposition lawmaker said he has acquired verified information of President Rodrigo Duterte being "seriously ill", but it was brushed off by his spokesperson.

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said Saturday he received the information of Duterte's deteriorating health from a close friend of the President, but refused to identify his source.

"Marami po tayong information sa status ng kanyang kalusugan at marami naman tayong mata at tenga sa paligid ng presidente at tingin ko alam rin naman niya 'yan," Alejano said. 

[Translation: We have plenty of information on the status of his health and we have a lot of eyes and ears around the President, and I think he knows this.]

"Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano's misinformation is certainly in aid of election. We hope the people will judge him accordingly," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement Sunday. 

He also told CNN Philippines Saturday on Alejano's claim, "Just like Joma, that's wishful thinking on his part."

Speculations of Duterte's health escalated when communist leader Joma Sison posted online an unverified report that the President had gone into coma.

The President earlier said his health is in good condition, but admitted he has been experiencing "perpetual pain" due to injuries from a motorcycle accident years ago.

Roque said, however, that the President's health is not in grave danger.

"The President has no serious illness…What he is experiencing is typical of people of his age," he said. 

Alejano said the President is visibly weaker since his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), and called on the Palace to disclose the status of Duterte's health to the public for "transparency."

"Talagang halos wala na siyang lakas, wala na siyang lakas… Simula noong SONA talagang hinang-hina ang Pangulo, iba na 'yung mukha niya," he said. 

[Translation: Truly it seems as though he no longer has strength. Since his SONA, he has truly been weaker. His face looks different.]

"Kailangan for the sake of transparency ay ihayag sa taong bayan ang estado ng kanyang kalusugan kasi may implication 'yan sa national security," he added.

[Translation: For the sake of transparency, they need to tell the status of his (Duterte's) health to the public because it has an implication on national security.]

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III previously argued, however, that the Palace should not be pressured to release medical bulletins on the President's health. 

He added that Malacañang should only release reports in case of critical health conditions, and not merely to answer speculations. 

Should they release a statement in light of the recent allegations, Pimentel said "That will now encourage, in the future, more false or deceptive news releases questioning the health of the President."