After his surprise absence at Independence Day celebrations yesterday, President Duterte has taken a second “rest day” today (Tuesday, June 13).
Speaking at a press conference today, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said he was still taking some “private time” to recover from his “brutal” schedule.
“He has rested these days. Today is rest day. It’s private time,” Mr Abella said, adding that the public shouldn’t worry about the president’s health.
“The President is actually in excellent health, except for the fact that his schedule has been brutal,” he said.
The day before yesterday’s Independence Day celebration, the president had flown to Cagayan de Oro to visit soldiers wounded in Marawi City. He then flew to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City to pay his respects to seven Marines who were among 13 killed in action on Friday.
“He would have wanted to be at the symbolic flag raising and honouring the dead but the fact is he was already doing it for the rest of the week,” Mr Abella said.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was the first to reveal that the president had to skip the Independence Day celebration due to exhaustion.
Previously, Mr Abella had claimed that he was attending to other “pressing matters”.
Mr Cayetano, who represented the president at yesterday’s event, was told at 5.30am that the president was not feeling well.
Vice President Leni Robredo led the commemorations in place of the president, leading the flag raising and wreath laying ceremonies before performing a salute in front of the statue of Jose Rizal in manila’s Luneta Park.
Yesterday, the president’s absence was criticised by senator Antonio Trillanes, who said he was tactless for skipping such an event just because he lacked sleep.
“You will see in this instance that he does not care, that he does not give any value to this very important event in our country’s history. What’s to lose by waking up early?”
The former soldier and staunch critic of the president added: “This man does not have any discipline in his body. I’m very frustrated and disappointed that he is our president.”