Cabinet members advise ‘tired’ Duterte to go on vacation

Pia Ranada
Cabinet members advise ‘tired’ Duterte to go on vacation


President Rodrigo Duterte's alter egos suggest a two-week period of rest and relaxation for the Chief Executive, says Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo


MANILA, Philippines – With the 74-year-old President Rodrigo Duterte at the halfway mark of his term, Cabinet members recently suggested to the Chief Executive that he take a break.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo shared to reporters that Cabinet members have observed a “tired” President sorely in need of some rest and relaxation.

“He’s working too hard and we told him so. ‘Mr President, magbakasyon ka naman (take a vacation), at least two weeks,” Panelo said in Malacañang on Friday, July 19.

Asked why the Cabinet officials brought up the suggestion, Panelo said they observed a harried Duterte.

“Wala siyang nararamdaman kung ‘di palaging pagod.… He’s always moving. Kulang ng sleep (He doesn’t have any ailment but he’s always tired… He’s always moving. He lacks sleep),” said Panelo.

The spokesman said this may be due to Duterte having morning appointments even if he was more of a night owl.

Cabinet members, he said, “can hardly keep up” with the Chief Executive’s work schedule. Duterte is known to have led 8-hour Cabinet meetings. He’s also fond of giving speeches lasting an hour or two. Duterte had said that what takes up a lot of his time is reading “state papers” until the early morning hours.

How did Duterte react to Cabinet members’ suggestions?

“He said, ‘Paano magbabakasyon tambak ang trabaho (How can I go on vacation when there is so much work)?'” said Panelo.

Despite the observed exhaustion, the spokesman gave assurances that Duterte remained physically “strong.”

Throughout his presidency, Duterte had constantly denied rumors of having a serious illness. The Constitution provides that  “in case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health.” (LOOK: Photos show darkening of Duterte’s complexion in recent months)

Media had noted several week-long absences  in which his spokesman said he was resting or attending to private activities. Duterte had also admitted getting tested for cancer as well as a string of ailments  such as daily migraines, his Buerger’s Disease, and Barrett’s Esophagus. –



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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at