Resting Duterte in 'excellent health,' says Palace

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte had a second consecutive "rest day" on Tuesday, June 13, to help him recover from his "brutal" schedule, his spokesman said.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a news briefing on Tuesday that Duterte was still having "private time" a day after he skipped Independence Day rites at Rizal Park on Monday, June 12, due to fatigue from his tight schedule.

Duterte had no scheduled public events on Tuesday,  just as his schedule was cleared on Monday to give him time to rest.

"He has rested these days. Today is rest day. It's private time," Abella said.

Though the President was in need of rest, Abella said the public need not worry about the Chief Executive's health. 

"The President is actually in excellent health except for the fact that his schedule has been brutal," said Abella.

The day before the Independence Day celebration, Duterte flew to Cagayan de Oro to visit soldiers wounded during the Marawi clashes. He also flew to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City to witness the arrival of the remains of Philippine Marines killed in action. 

Abella said Duterte honored Independence Day through these activities prior to the celebration itself, even if he was unable to lead the formal rites at Rizal Park.

"He would have wanted to be at the symbolic [flag] raising and honoring the dead but the fact is he was already doing it for the rest of the week," said Duterte's spokesman.

Abella could not say until when the President would rest. 

So far, the Palace has yet to inform media of any presidential activities or events this week.

Abella said, however, that Duterte has some "long-term appointments" to keep.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was the first to tell reporters that Duterte had to skip the Independence Day celebration due to exhaustion. Abella's original statement was that the President had to attend to pressing matters.

Cayetano, who represented Duterte during the event, was told at around 5:30 am on Monday that the President was not feeling well. 

Vice President Leni Robredo led the commemorative activities in place of Duterte.

The 72-year-old Duterte had complained in the past of several ailments but insists these are normal for someone his age.

Cabinet officials had repeatedly pointed to Duterte's busy schedule as proof that the Chief Executive was physically fit to carry out his responsibilities. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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