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After China visit, Duterte does a disappearing act

Where in the world was President Duterte?

Five days after his “highly successful” visit to Beijing, China, the 74-year-old President had been conspicuously absent from the public eye, with Malacañang officials initially being tight-lipped on the matter, and the social media accounts of his children offering no clues either.

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But presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday said Duterte was in Davao City this past week “reading so many, signing so many papers.”

‘He’s just at home’

In an interview with Palace reporters, Panelo said: “I haven’t talked to (the President) because he’s in Davao. He’s busy with a lot of paperwork… He has a lot to read, so he’s just at home.”

Added Panelo: “Duterte’s style of working (is) to simply focus on the task at hand, and to let the other government agencies do their mandated tasks.”

In the past, the President’s prolonged absence from official functions had sparked speculation about his state of health following his earlier admission that he suffers from migraines, Buerger’s disease, and back pains.

Duterte had also revealed that he undergoes regular blood tests, and had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy in October last year.

But Malacañang has repeatedly assured the public that the President remains in good health despite his “punishing schedule,” and that the public has nothing to worry about.

Duterte was last seen during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Palarong Pambansa in Davao City on Sunday afternoon.

Since then, Malacañang had not released any tentative schedule for the Chief Executive.

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But the President’s longtime aide, Christopher Go, said MDuterte decided to take the week off and stayed in his house in Davao City after his official visit to China.
Go told the Inquirer that the President will return to Manila on Monday.

Attendance confirmed

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan, which released its schedule of campaign rallies until May 7, earlier said Duterte had confirmed attendance in the administration party’s miting de avance on May 11.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago party similarly announced that the President would grace the HNP’s miting de avance on May 9 in Davao City.

The President was in Beijing from April 24 to 27 to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, where he sat down for a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.—WITH A REPORT FROM ORLANDO B. DINOY

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TAGS: China visit, Davao, disappearing, duterte, Health, Panelo
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