President Rodrigo Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña is not fond of issuing public statements, often preferring to keep mum and remain private.
But in a rare reaction posted by a DZRH announcer, she allegedly had this to say to those scoring Duterte’s absence during the onset of Typhoon Rolly last weekend, “Let them make up stories that make them look pathetic and imbecile.”
The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo gained traction when people on social media last Sunday asked why Duterte did not attend, or at least show up through videocon, the morning briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headquarters in Quezon City, which was presided over by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
Roque said the president was in Davao during that time, but was nevertheless working.
“Bagamat ang Pangulo po ay nasa Davao, lahat po ng ahensiya ng gobyerno ay nasa red alert… Kami po ay nag press briefing dito sa Camp Aguinaldo ng araw ng Linggo at gumagana po ang gobyerno,” Roque then said.
Yesterday, however, Duterte flew in to visit the municipality of Guinobatan in Ablay, which was badly hit by floods and lahar flow triggered by Typhoon Rolly.
The Bicol Region bore the brunt of Rolly, where it left 20 dead and 368,395 residents displaced in its wake.
Duterte afterwards lashed at critics who hit his initial absence.
“Kaya nga ako umuwi. Itong mga ugok naman sabihin wala ako. I was just waiting for the typhoon to pass, then lumipad ako,” Duterte said in a briefing.
“‘Yung nagsabi na wala ako dito kasi nasa probinsiya, so what’s your problem? Do you want me to stand doon sa white sand ni Roy Cimatu just to show that I am here? Ngayon nandito na ako,” Duterte said.