Palace: Duterte not ill, is doing job

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    PALACE officials yesterday assured the public that President Duterte is not sick and is in fact doing his job, like attending to paper works, at the Bahay Pangarap of the Malacanang complex.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in separate statements, dismissed rumors that Duterte is absent from the public eye because he is ill or suffered from a mild stroke.

    Duterte’s last public appearance was during his meeting with some members of the Inter-agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) that was followed by his Talk to the People address last March 29.

    He cancelled his Talk to the People address on April 7 after some members of the Presidential Security Group and his close-in security team tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

    “President Rodrigo Roa Duterte remains fit and healthy for his age and we thank the Filipino people for voicing their concern and wishing the Chief Executive’s strength and good health during this time of COVID-19 pandemic as he continues to discharge his functions as head of the government,” Roque said.

    Andanar said it is deplorable that some people speculated about the President’s health and even came out with fake news after the recent postponement of his activities.

    He said that sowing confusion and preying on the susceptibility of others “speaks volumes of their hateful nature. We leave their comeuppance to Providence.

    “These attempts to wish and to ponder ill intent, and worst, death, to anyone, especially to the President of our country, are foul and tasteless, even if meant in jest… President Duterte is safe and healthy, and continues to work to ensure that we address the recent surge of the virus. May these individuals and groups become conscientious of their malicious actions,” Andanar added.

    Senator Christopher Go late Wednesday night posted in his social media account and later released to the media a few photos of him visiting the President at Bahay Pangarap.

    The photos showed Duterte seated behind a table cluttered with several documents and newspapers. There were also some documents placed in a chair.

    Go said Duterte is all right and is staying at the Bahay Pangarap because of the enhanced community quarantine imposed in the National Capital Region Plus bubble.

    He added that Duterte opted to cancel his planned trips outside Malacanang and stay home instead to encourage the people, especially in NCR Plus, to stay home during the ECQ.

    Go added that Duterte has not been infected with COVID-19 based on his latest swab test.

    The test was done during the Holy Week.

    Presidential Security Group Commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III the other day assured the public that while there were several members of his team who still have active COVOD-19 infections, they have not been close to the President.

    Durante said 45 members of the PSG are still positive for the virus and are still under isolation, down from 126 cases. – With Raymond Africa