Presidential aides deny Duterte is ill as he takes sixth day of “rest”

Mayor Rody Duterte
Palace officials insist the president is in good health, just “resting” as he takes his sixth day of absence

is today (Monday, June 26) on his sixth day of “rest” — his longest absence from official duties to date.

The president has not been seen in public since last Tuesday, June 20, when he visited an evacuation centre in Iligan City and toured a military hospital in Cagayan de Oro.

Palace officials say he has no engagements in his diary for today, which is Eid’l Fitr, or the end of Ramadan.

They say he has been kept busy with paperwork and private events since disappearing from public view. On Thursday and Friday he apparently attended private wakes and on Saturday he was reportedly at a private dinner.

On June 17, the president attended Agusan del Norte’s 50th Founding Anniversary and visited a military command post in City — however, before then he had made no public appearance for five days.

This week’s absence is the president’s third — the first was a four-day disappearance in February.

The most recent absence is particularly unusual, as when Mayor of Davao, Mr Duterte would traditionally make great efforts to cement his ties with the Muslim community by visiting mosques during the Islamic holiday.

According to palace officials, he is expected to resume his official activities tomorrow.

In his speech during Agusan del Norte’s anniversary, the president admitted his body had been “overwhelmed” by his activities in the first week of June, which included several visits to military camps and numerous meetings related to his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Exhaustion was also the stated reason for his absence at the Independence Day celebrations at Manila’s Rizal Park on June 12.

Taking the president’s place at the event, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said he had been told that the President was “not feeling well”.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella has consistently maintained that while his boss was in “excellent health” he was forced to rest due to his gruelling schedule.

The 72-year-old has previously complained about several conditions, including Buerger’s Disease and Barrett’s Esophagus. He has admitted to having used powerful painkiller fentanyl as as an oxygen concentrator for respiratory ailments.

Citing the constitution, at least three opposition senators have demanded full disclosure of the president’s health.