President Rodrigo Duterte’s communications team has denied claims that the president went to China to be treated of cancer after an extended leave during the New Year.

“Huwag po kayong mag-alaala, at si Presidente po ay nakapagpahinga ng New Year. So ngayon ay full of energy po ang ating Pangulo para harapin ang lahat ng mga suliranin na kakaharapin po natin ngayong 2017,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a radio interview.

he President had earlier spent “personal time” since the start of the New Year, and emerged in public only last Friday to visit a Russian anti-submarine destroyer at the Manila port.

“Hindi po nagkasakit. Pahinga lang talaga, pahinga lang – private time,” Andanar said on the President’s recent holiday break.
Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go also supported Andanar’s statement saying that the rumors are “not true. One hundred percent, hindi kami lumabas ng bansa.”

The statements came after a column by former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad on The Manila Times speculated that Duterte might have spent his New Year at the Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, China.

Duterte has repeatedly denied that he has cancer, although he admitted to having had Buerger’s disease, Barrett’s esophagus, and spinal problems due to an accident he experienced while riding a motorcycle.