WATCH: Video shows Duterte after coma rumors

CHECKING ON DUTERTE. President Rodrigo Duterte allows footage of himself to be taken, supposedly on August 20, 2018. Screenshot from video on Bong GO Facebook page

CHECKING ON DUTERTE. President Rodrigo Duterte allows footage of himself to be taken, supposedly on August 20, 2018.

Screenshot from video on Bong GO Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Special Assistant to the President Bong Go started a supposedly live video of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, August 20, to address rumors that the Chief Executive entered into a coma the previous day.

The video, which went live on the Bong GO Facebook page at around 8:30 pm, shows Duterte supposedly about to have dinner with an unnamed woman.

The video is the first the public has seen of Duterte since his attendance to the Lex Talionis Fraternity convention on Saturday night, August 18, in Davao City.

Duterte, seated at a round table, addresses the viewers directly. The President appears in normal condition, save for his right eyelid, which appears to droop compared to his left.

"Sabi nila (They said) comatose. How can you be comatose when you're with a beautiful lady?" he said in the video.

Duterte also addressed communist leader Jose Maria Sison, among those who publicly claimed the President entered into a coma.

"Ang wish ko sa buhay, kahit wala kang silbi sa buhay na ito, mabuhay ka pa nang 1,000 years," he said. (My wish in this life, even if you have no use in this life, is for you to live 1,000 years more.)

Duterte again claimed that it was Sison who was suffering from a serious ailment and that he was "abusing the hospitality of the Netherlands." Sison has been living in exile in the Netherlands since the end of the Marcos dictatorship.

"Sa totoo lang, nagcomplain na rin ang Netherlands kasi labas-pasok ka sa ospital hindi ka naman nagbayad," said Duterte.

(In truth, the Netherlands is complaining because you're in and out of the hospital yet you don't pay anything.)

The Bong GO Facebook page, where the video was posted, is a page dedicated to content about the presidential aide, particularly posts related to the 2019 elections. Posts include articles on surveys on senatorial preferences favorable to Go or Duterte's remarks promoting Go as senator.

Quelling rumors

This is the second time Malacañang released images of Duterte to dispel claims of illness.

Back in June 2017, Go also sent reporters photos of a working Duterte after he was out of the public eye for 3 days. The President's schedule had been cleared of public events after he skipped Philippine Independence Day ceremonies because he was feeling under the weather.

Malacañang refuses to issue medical bulletins or statements from Duterte's doctors on the state of his health.

When Duterte dropped by the hospital a day before his 3rd State of the Nation Address in July, the Palace refused to disclose this until after Rappler had reported it, citing informed sources.

The 1987 Constitution states that the public must be informed if the President has a serious ailment. (READ: President's health: Touchy topic for Duterte, public concern for Constitution) – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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