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Duterte ‘sleepy’ but in good health during PMA rites – Panelo

/ 11:04 AM May 27, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte at PMA Class of 2019 graduation

President Rodrigo Duterte congratulates Cadet First Class Dionne Mae Umalla, valedictorian of the Philippine Military Academy’s Class of 2019, as he hands her diploma during the graduation ceremony at Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City on Sunday, May 26, 2019. Umalla was commissioned ensign in the Philippine Navy. (Photo by EV Espiritu / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte was sleepy but was in good health when he attended the graduation of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 2019, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Monday.

Duterte arrived two hours late for the graduation rites on Sunday, delaying the ceremony. The President also seemed wobbly and almost fell while boarding a military jeep for the trooping-the-line tradition.

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READ: Duterte arrives two hours late for PMA graduation

Panelo explained that Duterte stayed up late the night before, adding that the President only had two hours of sleep.

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“PRRD lacked the day before the event, working on papers, reading reports from various departments, and signing papers,” Panelo said in a text message to reporters.

“He is a night person. He usually sleeps at 6 am, he had to wake up at 8:30 am for the PMA graduation rites so he only had two hours sleep. The event at 9am was a part of his sleeping time. He is a night person. He was so sleepy when he arrived at the venue. He struggled to be awake,” Panelo added.

The President looked weak?

Asked for a comment regarding netizens’ observations that Duterte did not look well during the ceremony, Panelo assured that the President is in good health.

“To the people who wish him to be seriously ill, they will be disappointed. To those who are concerned about his well-being, they should be assured that apart from what he already told the public of what ails him (which is not life-threatening), the President is in good health, robust enough to be traveling to Japan for an official visit upon the invitation of Prime Minister Abe,” Panelo said. 

During the graduation ceremony, the President tasked Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to hand out the diploma to the graduates.

Panelo said Duterte wanted to reserve his energy for other segments of the program.

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“The protocol in distributing diploma is either he does it himself or he tasks the Secretary of National Defense (SND) to do it. He opted to let SND do the handling of the certificates. He reserved his energy for the other ceremonial acts he had to perform for the graduation rites,” Panelo said.

READ: Lorenzana to PMA grads: Stay alive

In his speech, Duterte asked the graduates to serve and die for the country.

“Serve your country well. Die for your country if need be. Remember the young Filipinos yet to come, the children… and if you think the country is not run the [right] way and if it will destroy your country, you should know what to do,” Duterte said. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)

READ: Duterte to PMA grads: Serve, die for country

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TAGS: duterte, Graduation, PMA, PMA Graduation, President Duterte, Salvador Panelo
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