Duterte's prolonged Davao stay for 'rest' and 'meetings'

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace said President Rodrigo Duterte's 3 days without official events was likely to give him time to rest and attend some private meetings.

"You have to understand that his schedules are really brutal and anybody would need to rest," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella when asked why Duterte has been out of the public eye since Monday, February 13.

Abella surmised that the Chief Executive spent Monday to Wednesday taking a break, and possibly attending some meetings. 

"I'm not saying that he is resting right now. But in the past quiet days, probably was. But he also had a number of activities in Davao," said Abella.

Duterte's last public event was his visit to earthquake-hit Surigao City on Sunday. The same day, he attended the wedding of his aide-de-camp. 

On Tuesday, Valentine's Day, Duterte retreated to the Davao City countryside with common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña and their daughter Veronica. 

From Monday to Wednesday, Malacañang said Duterte had no official or public events.

On Thursday, Duterte was set to meet with Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev in Davao City.

Duterte typically flies to Davao City at the end of the week to rest or attend events in his hometown during the weekend. It is rare that he stays in Davao City until the middle of the week.

Abella said that, to his knowledge, Duterte did not seek medical treatment during the days he was out of the public eye.

He gave assurances that the President is in the "pink of health" despite some ailments related to his age. (READ: LIST: 'Migraine everyday' and Duterte's other ailments)

"The President has all the usual afflictions. But, however, you know, he doesn't have anything extraordinary. He's in [the] pink of health considering his age," said the spokesman.

Last February 6, Duterte recounted how he had gotten a doctor to check on "pain" in his heart, which Malacañang had said was merely a "story." – 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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