Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Presidential Communications Operations Office (ASEAN-PCOO) Roadshow in Baguio City on February 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of PCOO

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Was Duterte’s chest pain checkup ‘just a story’?

The Press Secretary is the liaison between the government, the public and the media. One of his functions is to clarify, confirm or deny information that the media ask him for confirmation.

Discussing his anti-drug campaign on Feb. 6 at the launch of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Large Taxpayers Service tax campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte apologized for being late because he was not feeling well.

When media asked Communications Secretary Martin Andanar about it, he dismissed it as "just a story." Sought for clarification on what he meant, Andanar in a text message to VERA Files said, “It’s just a story. That’s how the president described what he said.”

STATEMENT

The President’s “story”:

Galing na ako, na-late ako, pardon me nag-EKG ako. Kasi I was not feeling well. Sabi ko, masakit man ang puso ko. Pagdating ni Dra. del Rosario sa Cardinal Santos, dala-dala niya EKG niya. Sabi ko, ’Wala man diperensya ang ano mo.’ Baka ano ka lang sa EKJ. Ang sakit mo, extrajudicial. She was caught in a snarl sa traffic. Kaya ito, mag-by land nga sana ako, nag-chopper na lang ako kasi I was really late.”

(Source: RTVM Bureau of Internal Revenue – Large Taxpayer Service Tax Campaign Kick-Off, watch from 15:26 to 15:58)

FACT

Cardinal Santos Medical Center's website lists Dr. Agnes del Rosario as among its cardiologists. She is the only del Rosario in the hospital’s list of cardiologists. Duterte had referred to his doctor as a “she.”

VERA Files called up Del Rosario’s clinic to confirm Duterte’s checkup last Monday. The office did not deny nor confirm it.

The 1987 Constitution (Article VII, Section 12) requires the president to inform the public about the state of his health “in case of serious illness.”

Duterte was previously confined overnight at Cardinal Santos while campaigning for the presidency last year due to severe migraine. He said in multiple media reports he was diagnosed with respiratory infection which triggered the headache, nausea and vomiting.

Duterte also said then he has other illnesses that are not fatal. Among those he mentioned are slipped disc from a motorcycle accident 10 years ago, Barrett's esophagus (a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease) and Buerger's disease (a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs in which the blood vessels become inflamed, swell and can become blocked with blood clots)

Challenged to disclose his medical records by his opponent then, Duterte said there is no need and that he would only release them if his opponent Mar Roxas will show that he is circumcised.

Sources:

Rappler - Duterte admits getting check-up for 'pain' in the heart

Manila Bulletin - Palace on Duterte having cancer, sick: ‘Just a story’

Sun Star Manila – Duterte reveals taking ‘EKG test’ due to chest pain

Cardinal Santos Medical Center

ABS-CBN News - Duterte refuses to bare medical records

Inquirer.net - Duterte admits he has 4 ailments

GMA News Online - Duterte admits he was taken to the hospital

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