After nearly six months of holding the highest position in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has realized that he actually doesn’t need the presidency.
During a speaking engagement in Phnom Penh, the president cited old age and his health as some of the reasons he came to this realization, the Inquirer reports.
“I am old. This is my last hurrah. After this, [I’ll be turning] 77. I am not sure if I will still be around by the end of my term,” he said.
“I have this migraine every day,” he said. “I have a lot of issues with my spine. What I have is really Buerger’s disease. It’s an acquired thing that you get from smoking, because of nicotine.”
But Duterte quickly clarified that this doesn’t mean that he was having second thoughts of retaining the presidency.
“It’s not a question of having regrets, none at all, because I entered into it...I realize now—I do not need it at this time of my life. But I tell you, I take pleasure at the end of the day, that’s the only consolation, I have a job, I am doing something right,” he said.
Following his statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella assured the public that Duterte is “doing fine” and is healthy and fit to work, ABS-CBN News reports.
“Whatever pains he's experiencing is basically, as the doctors would say, wear and tear. So nothing to be afraid about, nothing to be concerned about,” he said.
Despite their differences, Vice President Leni Robredo for her part hoped for Duterte to get well but also insisted that the president’s health was of national concern.
Duterte, 71, is a former mayor of Davao City for 22 years and is the oldest person to become the country’s top official. He will turn 77 once his six-year term ends in 2022.