MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night quashed the rumor spread by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison that he is in coma by going live on Facebook.
In a live video shared by Duterte’s top aide Christopher “Bong” Go on his Facebook page, Duterte was shown having dinner with a female visitor named Bernice in a hotel in Davao City.
“I said I’m alive. Fairly healthy and I’m having dinner with a beautiful lady from Davao. She’s Bernice, she’s only from Harvard,” Duterte said.
Duterte said he invited Bernice, who came from Harvard, to discuss “many things” with her but did not elaborate.
He said if rumors were true that he was in comatose, then he would rise from his bed to greet his female guest.
“Okay pa naman ako. Sabi nila comatose. How can you be comatose with a beautiful lady? Kung comatose ako, makita ko si Bernice, talagang babangon ako (I’m okay. They say comatose. How can you be comatose with a beautiful lady? If I’m in comatose and I see Bernice, I’ll get up),” Duterte jested.
Duterte said if anyone was sick, it was Sison.
“Ikaw ‘yung may sakit (You’re the one sick),” Duterte said, noting that Sison has probably been going in and out of the hospital in Netherlands, where he has been in exile since 1987.
“If you think you are sick, come home and I will bring you to a place. it’s called Bilibid,” Duterte said referring to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Duterte said in Bilibid, Sison will be provided a bed and plenty to keep him company.
Meanwhile, he also wished Sison to live for a thousand more years.
“Joma, ang wish ko sa buhay maski na wala ka nang silbi sa mundong ito, mabubuhay ka pa rin ng mga 1,000 years. Para ikot ka ng ikot dito sa mundo (Joma, my wish for you is that even if you have no purpose in this world, you live for 1,000 years so you’ll just keep roaming around the world),” Duterte said.
Duterte said Sison could be the reincarnation of a guy, possibly a biblical character, who has been “walking around the planet” and “not dying.”
On Monday morning, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also dispelled the rumor by noting that Duterte is in good health and will even make a public appearance in Cebu City on Tuesday.
“Contrary to what Joma Sison said, the President is fine and well in Davao participating in Kadayawan (festival). He will have a public appearance tomorrow (Tuesday) with the League of Cities in Cebu City,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
“As usual, Joma Sison does not know what he talks about. How will he know about the state of health of the President when he is faraway in the Netherlands?” he added.
Roque shrugged off Sison’s remark noting that he was “not a doctor.”
He also appealed to Sison, as well as other critics of the President, to stop wishing Duterte ill.
“Sasabihin ko lang po doon sa mga kritiko ni Presidente (I just want to tell the President’s critics), stop wishing him ill as far as his health is concerned. Every time you wish him ill, lalong lumalakas (he gets stronger),” Roque said.
On his Facebook account, Sison earlier claimed sources have told him that there was a “darkness” in Duterte’s face during the national convention of fraternity Lex Talionis Fraternitas of San Beda Law school on Saturday (August 18).
Sison said the President was in coma since Sunday night although the report is still being verified. PNA