In a surprising admission of mortality, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he has only three to five years to live.
The President made the pronouncement in a speech at the inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 in Quezon City, where he appealed to the public to choose the next Philippine leader in 2022 who can “forcefully” fight corruption.
“I am asking it on behalf of the Filipino people, not for me. I am already old,” said the 75-year-old Duterte.
“In three to five years, I am gone,” he added.
The President, who previously admitted that he suffers from several illnesses, did not elaborate on the matter.
His state of health has been a recurring issue in his presidency given his old age.
Duterte and his spokesmen have refused to disclose his medical records, but he has declared in separate instances that he suffers from migraines, back pains, Barrett’s esophagus, Buerger’s disease, and myasthenia gravis.
Duterte also said that he has been experiencing occasional headaches and he has spinal issues which he had attributed to a motorcycle accident when he was 68 years old. He also admitted that he takes sleeping pills and the highly addictive Fentanyl.
The oldest official elected as president also admitted that he has several medications — including Viagra, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction.
His previous admissions fueled speculations on his alleged deteriorating health. Critics have been demanding the release of his medical bulletin as they noted that transparency on the President’s health is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
His health took a spotlight in 2019 after he cut short a trip to Japan because of “unbearable pain” in his lower back and hips.
The pain, Malacañang said, was due to a motorcycle mishap in the Palace compound that had grabbed headlines the week before.
No term extension
During his speech, Duterte shot down speculations that he wants to extend his term of office beyond 2022 even if it was presented to him on a silver platter, amid efforts by his allies to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“Even if you give it to me on a silver platter, even if you give me another 10 years, I will tell you, ‘Son of a b*tch. That’s yours. I am done,’” Duterte said during the inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.
The event was attended by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who insisted that the Lower Chamber wants to propose changes in some of the Charter’s economic provisions amid the pandemic.
The Palace has repeatedly denied rumors that Duterte intends to prolong his stay in Malacañang and that he is relying on his so-called supermajority in the Congress to extend his term.
This week, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments resumed its deliberations on Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which seeks to propose amendments to the “restrictive” economic provisions in the Constitution.
Velasco himself filed the resolution, saying the Congress should lift the constitutional restrictions on foreign investments in land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.
Sara being egged on to seek presidency
As he said this, Duterte claimed that his daughter, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is being egged on to seek the presidency in the 2022 elections.
He also reiterated that he has been discouraging her daughter to run in the next presidential polls, saying the highest government post is “not for women.”
“My daughter, they are egging on her. And I told them, ‘My daughter is not running,’” the chief executive said.
He did not disclose the identities of individuals who are supposedly encouraging his daughter to become the next president.
“I told her not to run because I’ll pity her if she will experience what I had. This is not for women. The emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different,” Duterte said.
“You will become an a*sh*le on this one. There. That is the sad story,” he added.
This was not the first that Duterte publicly discouraged his daughter from seeking the presidency, although he has repeatedly praised her political influence.
He once cited her role in the ouster of Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as House Speaker in 2018.
Duterte-Carpio had also endorsed the speakership of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who ousted Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano from the Lower Chamber’s helm last year.
“I know what it’s like to be President. Don’t believe the clamor of the people because when the water gets rough, you find you’re the only one sailing the lonely sea,” Duterte told her daughter in a televised interview last year.
The younger Duterte has neither confirmed nor denied plans to seek the presidency in 2022, saying her decision would depend on the circumstances.
She currently leads the regional political party “Hugpong ng Pagbabago.”