Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday branded as “fake news” the report that President Rodrigo Duterte suffered a “mild heart attack.”
“Don’t believe in fake news,” Andanar said in Filipino in a Facebook post, sharing a screenshot of a report by Maharlika TV that Duterte had a “mild stroke”.
In a now-deleted post, Maharlika TV cited “reliable sources” who claimed that Duterte’s public address was canceled on Wednesday because the 76-year-old Chief Executive “suffered a mild stroke.”
Duterte’s scheduled talk to the nation on Monday was moved to Wednesday night.
However, Duterte was forced to reschedule anew his address to the nation after many members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a separate Facebook post, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go shared several photos of Duterte working at Malacañan Palace in Manila to belie rumors about the President’s health.
“To those who have bad intention, do not celebrate yet. Tatay Digong is just here. The work is piling up,” Go said in his post on late Wednesday night, referring to Duterte who is fondly called by his supporters as “Tatay Digong.”
Go told the public to just help Duterte in the fight against Covid-19, instead of spreading false information about the president’s health.
“Let us just help our beloved President overcome the crisis by being united,” he said.
Duterte was last seen in public on March 29 when he delivered his regular public address. Prior to his address to the nation, he witnessed the arrival of one million Covid-19 vaccines procured by the government from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
PSG commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III assured the public on Wednesday that Duterte remains “safe” and “in good health.”
Durante added that Duterte’s activities would only resume once Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila decline.