Palace: Duterte’s ‘sickly’ look in Sulu an ‘emotional issue,’ not health-related
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday allayed concerns over President Rodrigo Duterte’s health, saying his “sickly” appearance last week was due to an “emotional issue” caused by the death of four soldiers in the Sulu incident.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President took the incident in Sulu “very personal,” hence his frail appearance as he spoke before soldiers last Friday in Zamboanga City.
“That’s not health-related, it’s more of an emotional issue,” Roque said in an online briefing.
Four soldiers who were fatally shot by Sulu police officers were in the middle of a mission to “capture suspected bombers,” Army spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said.
The Philippine National Police initially reported the killing as a result of a “misencounter” and later on backtracked, saying it was a “shooting incident.”
“Matamlay po talaga siya dahil talagang kusang malungkot. Doon ko lang po nakita na talagang napakalungkot ng ating Presidente. Para siyang ama na namatayan ng mga anak dahil nag-away-away.”
(He was in low spirits because he was really sad. That’s the only time I saw the President really sad. He was like a father who lost children due to a fight.)
“Talagang emosyonal po siya. At some point, nagka-crack po ang kanyang voice. At doon ko lang po nakita na talagang he took it very personal itong nangyari sa Jolo,” he went on.
(He was really emotional. At some point, his voice cracked. I saw that he really took the Jolo incident very personally.)
Duterte appealed for “calm” and “understanding” between the military and the police as he implored the security forces to wait for the result of the probe on the June 29 incident.
The President also assured justice for the four army men who were killed in the incident.
The chief of Jolo Municipal police has been administratively relieved of his post alongside nine other police officers supposedly involved in the killing of the four soldiers, said Brig. Gen. Manuel Abu, chief of Police Regional Office in Bangsamoro Administrative Region.
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