By GENALYN D. KABILING
PRESIDENT Duterte is battling “perpetual pain” from a motorcycle accident years ago but is certain that he still has a long life ahead of him.
In his first public appearance in Cebu City since allegations he fell into a coma circulated over the weekend, the President assured the public that he was just “resting” in his hometown Davao City for the past few days.
“Comatose, comatose ka diyan…comatose, matagal pa ako,” Duterte said in his two-hour speech before an assembly of mayors from Visayas in Cebu City last Tuesday.
Duterte, however, admitted he has been in constant spinal pain after a bad motorcycle fall several years ago. Since the incident, Duterte said he has difficulty riding airplanes because he becomes dizzy.
“I have a C4 and C7 na nag-impinge. That’s why I am in perpetual pain. On the, on any day, it’s seven in a scale of 10,” he said.
Duterte said his doctors have advised him against frequently taking painkillers. “Sabi niya, ‘You better come to terms with your body,'” he said.
The President made the admission about his spinal pain amid persistent speculations he was in poor health. Communist leader Jose Maria Sison earlier alleged that Duterte had fallen into coma, citing reports about his weakness during a public engagement in Davao City last weekend.
Duterte denied Sison’s claim, saying it was the communist rebel, currently living in exile in the Netherlands, who was afflicted with cancer.
He also threatened to confront Sison in the Netherlands to show who was really sick between them. “Tignan natin. Pag magpunta ako diyan, turista lang. Galing ako Israel. Tignan natin kung sinong comatose,” said Duterte, who is scheduled to visit Israel and Jordan next month.
Duterte also said Sison was a “freeloader” and a “discredited leader” who has been in and out of the hospital. “Mr. Sison, you are a refugee in that country. You are availing of the funds of the Norwegian people. You do not pay anything. You are staying there for free. And you are sick with cancer, in and out of the hospital,” he said.
“You are not a man. You are spent, you cannot… You are talking nonsense,” he added.