MANILA, Philippines - Malacañan Palace on Sunday dismissed the rumored death of President Rodrigo Duterte as "fake news" and assured the public that he remained in "robust health."
"Rumours circulating in social media that PRRD is seriously ill or that he just passed away are fake news peddled by certain persons who cannot accept the fact that we have a President who, not only is unstoppable in changing the landscape and culture of politics in this country," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement issued on Sunday.
He said the rumours were intended to "bring anxiety and apprehension" to those who "believe and admire" the President's "unorthodox but effective type of governance."
"We assure our countrymen that PRRD remains in robust health and is just resting in his Davao home for the weekend while preparing for the coming week's grueling schedule," Panelo said.
The speculations that Duterte had died or was seriously ill circulated on social media after he cancelled an event in Palo, Leyte last Friday.
"The President is conscientious of his health and he puts a break to his activities if he feels his body is not up to it. In other words, he knows how to take care of himself and does not perform any activity beyond what is necessary or is harmful to his physical being," Panelo said.
"We are sorry to disappoint the ill-wishers and the rumormongers even as we are amused by the detractors' propensity of running berserk in putting the President in a bad light or removing him from the physical plane in their minds," he added.
The Palace official, meanwhile, thanked those who prayed for the health of the President.
"We thank those who pray for the President's good health that he may continue fulfilling his promises to the nation pursuant to his constitutional duty of serving and protecting the people," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, the President asked those who believed the rumours to "pray for the eternal repose of my soul" as he laughed off speculations that he had already passed away.