Palace: No medical checkup in Duterte's Hong Kong trip

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 18) — Malacañang on Monday dismissed rumors that President Rodrigo Duterte had medical checkup during his weekend trip to Hong Kong.

"'Pag ang isang presidente ay pumunta sa Hong Kong for that matter, kahit saang lugar, hindi mo maitatago yun sa mata ng lahat, including, lalo na mga Pilipino. Malalaman mo 'yun. Papasok ka lang sa ospital e, ang daming Pilipino edi sana nakarating na sa atin," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a media briefing.

[Translation: "When a president goes to Hong Kong for that matter, or any other place, you cannot keep that from the public eye, especially of Filipinos. You will know that. It should have reached us because there are many Filipinos when you enter a hospital."]

Panelo said the President went to Hong Kong at the request of his youngest daughter Kitty and to celebrate the birthday of his partner Honeylet Avanceña. Photos of Duterte were seen on Hong Kong media reports dated February 16.

READ: Duterte in Hong Kong with family for a ‘weekend getaway’ — Bong Go  

Panelo also took a swipe at opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who said in a tweet that Duterte could have not gone there for rest or recreation as earlier claimed by former Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go.

"Nagpagamot ka or naglabas ka ng pera or both. But definitely, hindi ka pumunta dun para magpahinga or magshopping lang," Trillanes said Sunday.

Panelo said Malacanang is used to Trillanes' "falsities."

"Baka naman (Maybe) he refers to himself every time he goes out of the country," Panelo said of Trillanes, a consistent critic of the Duterte administration.

Duterte also made an unannounced trip to Hong Kong in October 2018 amid growing concerns over his health after Malacañang disclosed that doctors found a "growth" in his body. Duterte later revealed his biopsy turned out "negative" for cancer.

Malacañang has refused calls to make Duterte's health records public, saying the Constitution only requires it in case of "serious illness." In his previous speeches, the President said he also suffered from migraines, nausea, pain due to a spinal injury, and Buerger's disease or a disorder affecting blood vessels. He also skipped a number of events because he was not feeling well, the latest was a a scheduled Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Tacloban, Leyte last February 1.