President Rodrigo Duterte has brought along his partner, Honeylet Avanceña, and their daughter, Veronica “Kitty” Duterte, to his string of trips to Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Beijing – the first time they joined him on a trip abroad since he became Chief Executive.
At a news briefing before he boarded a flight to Cambodia on Wednesday, May 10, Duterte volunteered that he brought along his family to help him with his medication and also to cope with “jet lag.”
“I have some medications to take, I do not want these nurses na (who are) police pasok-pasok sa kuwarto (who go in and out of the room). Honeylet is a nurse and she can very well take care of me. I’d rather have my wife giving the medication kasi (because) strangers, they go in and out,” the President said.
Duterte also lamented the “requirement by law” to take the president’s blood pressure and pulse rate “every hour,” and for him to use an oxygenation meter, even if he has no illness.
“Para kang pasyente; isusulat nila ‘yan (You’re like a patient; they write everything down). Because they are required by law to do that. Kahit wala kang sakit, hanapan ka ng sakit para mamatay ka (Even if you’re not sick, they’ll look for a sickness so you’ll die)….That’s the idea there,” he quipped.
“It’s an extravagant attention just because you’re president….When it’s your time, it’s your time,” he said.
‘Jet lag’ blues
Duterte has not hidden his aversion to travel. Having his partner and daughter – who is on summer break from school – will help him deal with jet lag, he said.
“I hate to travel because it makes me dull already. A few hours, tamaan ako ng (then I get hit by) jet lag….That’s why I brought my family to tide me over,” he said.
He recalled one potentially embarrassing incident involving jet lag. Duterte said he was having a bilateral meeting with a Prime Minister he did not name, and he fell asleep in the middle of the meeting – “for the first time in my life.”
Duterte said then foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr even had to nudge him to wake him up. The Philippine leader said he told the Prime Minister, “I was just thinking aloud,” to disguise his nap.
One wonders how the President can have jet lag on his latest trip, since Cambodia is just one hour behind Manila, while Hong Kong and Beijing are also on Philippine time. Perhaps he means security blanket? Duterte always spends weekends in Davao City to be with Honeylet and Kitty, who are still based in Davao.
The family also went on trips abroad when Duterte was still mayor. When the Philippine leader went on a state visit to Japan last year, Japanese news programs flashed photos of Duterte with Honeylet and Kitty on vacation in Japan, riding a train, before he became president.
Honeylet’s and Kitty’s first trip as part of the presidential delegation abroad comes after the Philippines hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings.
Honeylet took on the role of First Lady when she hosted the ASEAN leaders’ spouses during their stay in Manila, and when she accompanied Duterte at the ASEAN gala night.
In January, she performed the same role when she accompanied Mrs Akie Abe, wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to a Japanese cemetery during the Prime Minister’s visit to Davao City. – Rappler.com