Palace says Duterte ‘taking time off to rejuvenate’
(Updated) “He’s just tired,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Thursday, dismissing claims that President Rodrigo Duterte has serious medical condition after skipping the Independence Day flag-raising activity.
Abella said the President was just “taking some time off to rejuvenate” given his “brutal” schedule.
“The President is well. The President just needs… after all, you have to consider that he has been on the road for at least 23 days in fulfilling his martial law supervision. So it has been really brutal so we have to allow him this time of rest,” he told reporters in a Palace briefing.
He said Duterte was having his private time at Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang.
The 72-year-old President was last seen in public on Sunday, June 11, during the arrival ceremony for eight of the 13 marines slain in the fighting in Marawi.
He also visited the wake of two slain marines held at the Philippine Marines headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.
Duterte was supposed to lead the 119th Independence Day rites at the Rizal Monument in Luneta but skipped the event.
Abella said he could not give a definite date as to when the President would make his public appearance.
“Well, you know, he is taking some time off. I cannot really give you definite date but he’s just taking some time off to rejuvenate. Let’s just put it this way, that he’s resting for some time,” he said.
The Palace official said the Chief Executive spending most of his time resting.
Asked whether he has consulted with a doctor, he said, “I am sure he has checked with his own experts.”
“I am saying that there is nothing to worry about in terms of sickness. But what I am saying is that considering the schedule that he has given, he needs to rest. You do need to rest, don’t you?” he said.
In an interview with reporters, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Duterte “was very strong and upbeat.”
“Last night I was talking to him and he sounded very strong and upbeat. So I think he’s strong as a bull and could be sleepy as a night owl,” Panelo said, saying their conversation lasted for around 15 minutes.
He quoted the President, saying “Busying-busy ako ngayon, eh. Ang daming problema sa Mindanao.’ Yun ang pagkasabi sa akin (I am very busy lately. A lot of problems in Mindanao. That’s what he said to me).”
He said Duterte was even laughing after he narrated a story to him.
“He sounds upbeat and yung boses niya, natural na boses niya. In fact, he was laughing because I was relaying a story that made him laugh,” he said.
Panelo laughed off claims the President was in the hospital.
“Lalong hindi (Of course not),” he said, adding that Duterte did not undergo a check-up.
“Lalong hindi nagpa-check-up. Bakit naman magpapa-check-up? Baka naman natulog lang dahil antok (He did not undergo a check up. Why should he? Maybe he’s sleeping because he’s just sleepy),” he said.
He said the chief executive might be back on Monday with his regular schedule.
“Siguro baka by Monday, back to his usual schedule of accepting courtesy calls (Maybe on Monday he’ll be back with his usual schedule of accepting courtesy calls),” he said.
Panelo believed Duterter was staying at the Bahay Pangarap.
“Nandiyan lang yun. Hindi naman umaalis yun, di ba? Nagpapahinga lang yun (He’s just there. He’s not going elsewhere, right? He’s just resting),” he said. JPV
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