#NasaanAngPangulo trends after Duterte cancels address twice
MANILA, Philippines — Filipino netizens on Wednesday night questioned the absence of President Rodrigo Duterte from the public eye, making the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo trend on Twitter.
Netizens began their speculations after the President canceled his weekly national address “Talk to the People” twice this week.
Duterte’s last public appearance was on March 29 when he welcomed the arrival of one million doses of procured CoronaVac vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac BioTech.
He also held his last “Talk to the People” the same day.
The President usually holds his regular public address on Mondays but Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier said that this week’s address will be possibly held on Wednesday.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, Roque said the president would not deliver his regular public address “in light of the rising number of active COVID-19 cases.” His public address will instead be rescheduled next week.
“The physical safety of the President remains our utmost concern,” Roque said.
“In addition, the preparation for the Talk to the People Address entails [staff complement] and we also take due consideration of their well-being,” he added.
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, who is Duterte’s long time aide, said the President’s public address was postponed after 45 members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tested positive for COVID-19.
He said, however, that “there is nothing to worry about” as the president was in “good health.”
“In fact, we were together earlier and he continued to work,” he said in Filipino.
The PSG commander, Brigadier General Jesus Durante III confirmed that 45 active cases of COVID-19 had been detected in his unit, but he quickly clarified that no one among those infected was assigned as part of the close-in security detail of Duterte.
All infected PSG personnel were also asymptomatic.
“Rest assured that the president is safe and in good health,” Durante added.
Netizens also started speculating about the president’s health after her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, confirmed that she had gone to Singapore.
She earlier did not disclose the purpose behind her trip, but eventually revealed that it was for “personal health management.”
To further vouch for the president’s health, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar tagged as “fake news” rumors circulating on social media that Duterte had suffered a mild heart attack.
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