Karma, skin woes and Duterte’s other reasons for his darkened face

October 25, 2018 - 11:33 AM
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President Rodrigo Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte attends the opening session of the 20th ASEAN-JAPAN Summit in Manila, Philippines November 13, 2017. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

President Rodrigo Duterte in a recent speech quipped that the dark spots on his face are probably his “karma.”

Duterte in a speech at the Philippine Quality Award Conferment Ceremony said that he became “conscious” of the spots below his eyes.

“Conscious kasi ako sa itim ko na mukha,” he reportedly said at the speech. “Matagal na itong sunburn ko. Ewan ko kung bakit. Baka karma na rin,” Duterte added.

Some believe that Duterte’s prolonged sunburn may be his comeuppance, while others believe that the statement may only be just another of his spirited jokes.

The president’s health under the spotlight

The discoloration on the president’s face has been the subject of speculation that he may be suffering from an undisclosed illness.

He has since dispelled the rumors, explaining that sunburn and encountering dry desert air during his visit to Jordan and Israel in August 2018 gave him darker skin.

He also explained that same month that he “went up and down mountains,” giving him a dark complexion.

Duterte in October 2018 admitted to consulting a dermatologist in order to find a solution to the darkening of his face.

He said that aside from his trip to Jordan, visits to military camps in the Philippines contributed to the discoloration.

He also said he tried whitening cream in an attempt to remedy the situation, but the beauty product had no effect on him.

Among those who have claimed that the president suffered from a serious ailment was exiled-Communist People of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, who claimed that he had received information that Duterte fell into a coma in July 2018.

The communist leader retracted his statement when Duterte made an appearance that was broadcast on social media.

“For me, a man is not really measured by the color of your skin on the face. It’s the character,” he said while hitting back at critics who accused him of covering up an ailment.

Duterte in September 2018 admitted to complications due to Barett’s esophagus, the results of his smoking and drinking earlier in his life.

He admitted to undergoing colonoscopy and endoscopy but said that they were only standard procedures to address his sickness.

Dark spots on the skin have been linked to both common skin ailments that can be easily treated and diseases affecting internal organs.

Large and rapidly spreading discoloration has been linked to melanoma or skin cancer and liver problems.

Discoloration however is also believed to be most prevalent in those with naturally fair skin.