By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte was up and about Monday, visiting the grave of his mother Soledad Duterte to mark her seventh death anniversary and meeting the families of soldiers killed in Sulu.
The President, who was nursing a slight fever last weekend, offered prayers to his mother as he lighted candles at her tomb in Davao late Monday night.
Duterte was accompanied by former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go who shared to the media the photos of the private visit.
Soledad, a teacher and civic leader, passed away in 2012.
Duterte holds his mother in high regard, often citing her sacrifices to take care of their family in his public speeches. He previously admitted he was saddened his mother was not able to see him rise to the presidency in 2016.
From the cemetery visit, the President went to meet with families of the soldiers killed in a recent clash with the terror suspects in Patikul, Sulu.
Duterte offered his condolences and extended financial assistance to the soldiers’ families during a closed-door meeting. The five slain soldiers were also posthumously given the Order of Lapu-Lapu in recognition of their service and bravery, according to Go.
The President’s two private engagements come amid renewed speculations about his health.
Malacañang earlier explained the President skipped a public engagement in Leyte last Friday since he was not feeling well.
The 73-year-old leader later appeared on a Facebook video to dispel rumors of his death. “For those who believe in the news that I passed away, then I request of you, please pray for the eternal repose of my soul,” Duterte said in the post.