MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino began his three-day Christmas break on Wednesday in Baguio City, but Malacañang said he was still running the affairs of the state and was just a “text away.”
The President will spend the next few days at The Mansion House, the official residence of the President in Baguio.
The three-day break of the President is off-limits to the media, but television stations have sent crews to monitor the movements of Aquino, who is vacationing with his friend and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.
“He’s away. As he promised to the MPC (Malacañang Press Corps), he is taking his break. Nonetheless, we were told that if there’s anything important, he is always a text away,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a briefing at the Palace.
“And certainly communications are ongoing with him except that we wanted to give the President more time to rest,” said Lacierda.
Despite the break, the President was being fed regular updates on tropical depression “Quinta” (international name: Wukong).
Lacierda said that Aquino was also on top of “all other important matters of state.”
“But, again, this is an opportunity for the President to take a well-deserved rest. But it does not mean that the affairs of state are not moving forward. He continuously receives information on the matters of state,” said Lacierda.
Christmas with family
Aquino spent Dec. 24 and 25 with his staff and closest kin. He spent last Monday with his family and his household and close-in staff for fellowship.
He also visited parents’ and other relatives’ graves at Manila Memorial Park.
On Tuesday, Christmas Day, he had lunch with relatives and watched his sister Kris’ new comedy movie, “Sisterakas,” a Star Cinema and Viva Entertainment entry to the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival.
The President revealed to the MPC, at a dinner two weeks ago, that he would try to sneak out of the capital for a few days during Christmas week before resuming official duties at Malacañang ahead of New Year’s revelry.
But he himself doubted whether the sheer distance of Baguio from the capital would insulate him from politics and the pressing concerns of his presidency.