If you want me to die early, you must pray harder — Duterte

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Days after he was missing from the public eye for almost two weeks, President Rodrigo Duterte appeared on Monday and hammered his critics.

During his weekly online public talk, the President addressed rumors about his whereabouts, saying it was his intention to be absent from the public eye.

“Noong nawala ako ng ilang araw, talagang sinadya ko ‘yun. Ganoon ako eh, kapag kinakalkal mo ako, lalo akong, parang bata? Kapag lalo mo akong kinakantyawan, eh mas lalo akong gumagana,” he said.

Duterte said that his hometown has always been the city of Davao and that he can freely go home anytime, and clarified he does not use public funds for his trips.

He also addressed criticisms after his former aide and now senator Christopher “Bong” Go uploaded photos and videos showing him golfing, jogging, and motorbike-riding in an apparent bid to quell rumors on his well-being.

Duterte said there is nothing wrong with enjoying his hobbies and interests in the wee hours of the night, as he is not taking people’s time.

“Pero kung sabihin mo na may sakit ako ngayon to prevent me from exercising the powers of the presidency, wala ho. Kaya ako nakaka-swing ng golf (club), tapos nagmo-motor, kasi kaya ko pa. The problem is you should look into the time I enjoy my hobbies. Gabi ‘yun, ano ba naman. Sa araw makita mo ako nag-golf…sabihin may problema,” he said.

“If you want me to die early, you must pray harder. Actually, what you intend or what you would like to happen is to see me go. You want me to go and you’re praying for that,” Duterte added.

According to Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo, it was “not presidentiable” for Duterte to say such things.

“Sa mga salita ng Presidente, hindi ko na sinasagot kasi di naman kapani-paniwala ang kaniyang sinasabi. It’s not presidentiable na sasagot ka ng ganyan sa public address sa mga tao,” he said on Tuesday.

“Hindi naman ‘yan ang hinahanap ng mga tao, hindi naman yan ang pangangailangan ng bansa. It’s not worth dealing with those kind of statements.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque previously said Duterte is “not sick” despite his absence from the eye of the public.