MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte could not make it to a campaign rally in Marawi City held by his national political party, PDP-Laban, on Friday, April 12.
Duterte was supposed to lead the rally and publicly endorse the party's five-member slate and guest candidates at the Mindanao State University Marawi campus gym.
The program was supposed to start at 2 pm. But by 5:30 pm, there were no signs yet of the Chief Executive.
PDP-Laban senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino told reporters at the venue that Duterte was not going to make it.
"Hindi ko alam 'yung reason kasi kagabi, magkasama pa kami sa Bacolod. Hindi ko alam kung anong nangyari," he said when asked about Duterte's absence.
(I don't know the reason because last night, we were still together in Bacolod. I don't know what happened.)
Duterte attended another PDP-Laban campaign rally in Bacolod on Thursday night, April 11.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo's explanation was that the weather made travel difficult for the President.
"Not good weather for the flight to marawi so he cancelled it, opted to rest," he told reporters in a message.
Tolentino denied Duterte's non-attendance was related to his health, even joking that he and the President had gorged on lechon (roast suckling pig) the night before. Tolentino said there is no reason to worry about Duterte's health.
"Nothing to worry about. It's usual. It has happened twice already," Tolentino said in Filipino.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.