Palace: Duterte ‘on top of situation’
despite absence from public eye

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President Rodrigo Duterte is “well and alive,” Malacañang assured the public again on Tuesday, a week after the chief executive last appeared in public.

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Speaking to reporters, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte was on top of every situation despite being out of the public eye.

“First and foremost, he is alive and well. He is very well. He is just busy doing what he really needs to do,” Abella said as he explained that Duterte could better accomplish office work in private.

“The President, you know as you’ve seen, is very much in the public eye but being out of the public that does mean he can really do office works. He signs papers, he reads, he consults, he is actually very busy,” he said.

“But the thing that is very important to note is that he is on top of every situation. He is aware of what’s happening. He’s updated regularly. He reads, he views, he listens to these. And he is quite aware. Like we said, this is just his working style,” Abella added.

The President is expected to make his first public appearance in seven days on Tuesday when he leads the celebration of Eid’l Fitr in Malacañang.

Earlier on Tuesday, Duterte will preside over a National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) board meeting and participate in the presentation of a donation for Marawi City.

The 72-year-old Duterte has not been seen since last Tuesday, when he visited wounded troops in a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. He also visited evacuees in Iligan City earlier that day.

The President’s absence from the public eye has helped fuel speculations that he may be seriously ill.

This is the second time this June that Duterte, known for giving fiery speeches that are aired live, has not been seen by the public for several days.

The President was last seen in public on June 11 when he attended funeral rites for the fallen Marawi soldiers. He skipped Independence Day rites the next day as he was “tired and lacks sleep.”

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