Malacanang has maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte is healthy following speculations regarding his health and whereabouts that cropped up online after his scheduled weekly address was postponed.
“President Rodrigo 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 government,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
Malacanang yesterday announced that Duterte’s weekly “Talk to the People,” originally scheduled Wednesday night, will be postponed to next week “in light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.”
This is the first time this year that Duterte cancelled his weekly address.
Senator Bong Go said the address was cancelled due to the reported COVID-19 cases in the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
PSG Chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III said that the PSG personnel who tested positive “are not directly or closely detailed with the President and are all asymptomatic without experiencing any symptom.”
“Hence, rest assured that the President is safe and in good health,” said Durante.
Presidential Communications Operation Office Sec. Martin Andanar also issued a statement reassuring the public on the president’s well-being and slamming speculations.
“As easy as it may be for some people to blame the government for any mishap, even the surge in COVID-19 cases, 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,” said Andanar.
Go also released early today photos with Duterte to dispel speculations.
Speculations about Duterte has been a recurring issue during his administration, as he has time and again mentioned he has certain ailments and missed engagements in the past. The full medical record of the 76-year-old president, however, has not been publicized even after a petition was filed at the Supreme Court invoking the public’s right to know as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.