07:05 GMT19 April 2021
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    Speculations about the Philippine leader have been around for quite some time since the president has a condition with his gullet.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made a joke on Thursday, saying that he could have cancer.

    During his address at the joint meeting of the National Task Force and Regional Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict in Eastern Visayas, Duterte apologised for coughing and joked that it could have been cancer.

    “I’m sorry. My coughs are progressive. Maybe it is cancer,” Duterte said to the audience’s laughs.

    Duterte was diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, a condition in which the lining of the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach changes into tissues similar to the lining of the intestine.

    Last year, Duterte said that doctors advised him to stop drinking liquor and watch his diet since the disease could progress to stage 1 cancer.

    Previously, the Philippine President promised that he would step down if he has any serious illness, including cancer.

    "But I would tell you that — if it's cancer, it's cancer. And if it's a third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere," Duterte underscored.

    The president is required to inform the public about any serious illness under the country's constitution and should be replaced by the vice-president in the event that he can no longer serve.

    Philippines, cancer, Health, Rodrigo Duterte
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