Palace can't say when Duterte will end downtime

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang cannot say when President Rodrigo Duterte will resume his official activities after 3 straight days of rest.

"Let's just put it this way – he is resting for some time," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a Palace news briefing on Thursday, June 15.

He made the statement when asked when the public could expect the President to have official meetings or public activities again.

Duterte's health was a major topic during the Palace news briefing on Thursday, which marked the President's 4th consecutive day of rest, based on Abella's statement.

It marked the longest stretch for the President not to have any official activities. In February, Duterte's "private time" lasted 3 days. On the 4th day, he had a meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev in Davao City. 

Malacañang had to cancel Duterte's appearance at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency anniversary on Wednesday, June 14. His flight to Davao City on Wednesday was also canceled.

Abella said Duterte was in Manila.

The last time the public saw the President was on Sunday night, June 11, when he witnessed the arrival of the remains of soldiers slain in Marawi City at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. The next day, an exhausted Duterte skipped his first Independence Day rites as president.

Despite such hiccups in Duterte's schedule, Abella stood by his previous statement that the Chief Executive is in "excellent health."

"The President is well. After all, you need to consider he has been on the road for at least 23 days fulfilling his martial law supervision, so it has been really brutal," said Abella. 

Asked how Duterte spent his downtime, Abella said the Chief Executive was "mainly resting."

On whether the President had seen a doctor the past few days, the spokesman said, "I'm not privy to those matters but I'm sure he's checked with his own experts."

Duterte is known to have regular checkups with at least two doctors. He once even admitted getting a checkup for "pain" in his heart, and that he uses an oxygen converter when he sleeps. (LIST: 'Migraine everyday' and Duterte's other ailments)

Is the President sick? Abella responded by saying the public has "nothing to worry about."

"There's nothing to worry about in terms of sickness," he said.

A Palace source told Rappler that Duterte had at least one private meeting on Wednesday.

He was also gearing up to resume his visits to various parts of Mindanao while the Marawi crisis and imposition of martial law in the region continue. – 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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