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Duterte’s health concerns grow

International 22 Nov, 2019 Follow News

Duterte’s health concerns grow

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is famous for his strongman persona but the concern over his increasing poor health is growing.

His nickname is "The Punisher" because of a widely-held perception that he is tough on crime. But since coming to power in 2016 he has been dogged by health problems.

Concern was raised again last week after his spokesman announced the president was taking three days' "rest".

But rumours about President Duterte's health have swirled since he took office, driven by his reputation for skipping official events and meetings.

Last year it was revealed that doctors had found a suspicious growth inside Duterte during an endoscopy. "I will tell you if it's cancer," Mr Duterte said at the time. Test results later found that the growth was benign.

During a visit to Russia in early October, the president told a gathering of Filipino expatriates that he was suffering from myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disease that, according to the president, causes one of his eyelids to droop.

Weeks later Duterte fell from a motorcycle and hurt his back following a late-night ride around the palace grounds in Manila.

"Unbearable pain" from the accident forced him to cut short an official trip to Japan, according to his most-trusted aide, Senator Bong Go.

Mr Duterte was pictured at the time leaning on a walking stick alongside his daughter Sara and a concerned-looking Senator Go.

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