President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – After spending nearly a month in his hometown in Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte will be back in Manila by Sunday night.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President will return to Manila after visiting some victims of the recent twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu where 17 people, including soldiers, were killed and 75 others were injured.

“He is expected back in Manila tonight (Sunday),” Roque said in a statement.

According to him, Duterte left Jolo for Manila shortly before 6 p.m. after meeting with Jolo Mayor Kerkhar Tan.

Duterte himself announced that he will be visiting victims of the blasts during a brief appearance in the “Singing for the President” virtual concert organized by performers who are also his friends and supporters.

“I’m going to Jolo. Diretso ako ngayon sa Jolo, doon sa blast site. Mabigyan ko lang ang mga sundalo natin, mga sundalo ko, mga pulis ko ng importansya sa kanilang kamatayan (I’m going straight to Jolo, there in the blast site. I want to honor the deaths of our soldiers and police),” Duterte said, speaking to singer Jimmy Bondoc and writer-director and singer-songwriter Njel de Mesa, hosts of the virtual concert.

He also admitted that he would not be able to watch the virtual concert since he would have to “fulfill” his duties as commander-in-chief.

“Magti-take off kami. Tamang tama. Eh kaso lang sa ere walang ano, hindi niyo ako mapanuod (We’re going to take off. But I can’t watch you up in the air),” he added.

Local artists including Freddie Aguilar, Anthony Castelo, Raffy Buenavides, Giselle Sanchez, Cesar Montano, among others volunteered to serenade the President who looked “tired.”

Current and past appointees of the Duterte administration were also listed as performers such as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson, former OWWA Deputy Administrator Arnell Ignacio, and former Tourism Undersecretary Kat De Castro among others.

Duterte has been in Davao City since August 3 — the longest time he has been away from Manila.

Since then, rumors started circulating that he was severely ill, especially since his recent speeches have been televised.

On Monday, Duterte bared that his doctor had advised him to stop drinking as his Barrett’s esophagus was “nearing Stage 1 cancer.”

Roque, however, clarified that the doctor’s advice to Duterte was given “a long time ago”, before the former Davao City mayor became president.

Barrett’s esophagus is a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease. People with Barrett’s esophagus are more likely to develop esophageal cancer.

Besides Barrett’s esophagus, the 75-year-old President also suffers from back pains, migraines, and Buerger's disease, an inflammation of small- and medium-sized blood vessels.

According to Roque, the President is not hiding anything about his health and will inform the people if he is seriously ill.

Under Article 7, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution, the President is mandated to declare the real condition of his health “in case of serious illness.” (PNA)