PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday admitted that he took an electrocardiogram (EKG) test before attending his scheduled activities because of chest pain.

At the launch of Bureau of Internal Revenue's (BIR) tax campaign, Duterte revealed that his attending physician brought an EKG machine to check if he is at risk for heart disease.

"I was late, pardon me. I took EKG [test]. I was not feeling well. I have chest pain," Duterte said in a speech delivered at the Philippine Internal Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

"When Dra. Del Rosario of Cardinal Santos [Medical Center] arrived with her EKG [machine], she said, "There's no ailment [in your heart]. Perhaps, you have disorder in EJK (extrajudicial killing),'" he added.

Asked to confirm the President's statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a text message, dismissed Duterte's pronouncement as a "mere story."

"[Duterte] went straight to the Hardin ng Lunas event at the PSG Park from Bahay Pagbabago and proceeded to PICC for the BIR event," Andanar said.

Duterte arrived late at the "Hardin ng Lunas" of the Presidential Security Group held at the Malacañang grounds. It was initially scheduled at 2 p.m.

He, however, went straight to the PICC after the event in Malacañang.

In a separate text message, a source close to Duterte said the Chief Executive was just joking when he said he took EKG test.

Meanwhile, the President also lashed out at former Senator Francisco Tatad, who earlier claimed that he went to China's cancer hospital during the New Year break.

In Tatad's opinion piece for the newspaper Manila Times published last January 7, he quoted “reliable sources” that Duterte made a “secret trip” to China during his seven-day hiatus after celebrating the New Year.

Tatad had claimed that Duterte allegedly flew to China on board a private executive plane to meet the doctors of the Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, China.

But the President, for the first time, denied the report.

"This fool (Tatad) is shameless. He is audacious to claim that I went to China," Duterte said.

"Yes, I went to China. True, I went to the hospital, I was circumcised. I will tell him that I was circumcised," he said in jest. (SunStar Philippines)