By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang has assured Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah that President Duterte is in good condition after cutting short his visit to Tokyo, Japan, last week.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo on Sunday said there is nothing to worry about after Widodo and Bolkiah expressed concern over President Duterte’s health.
“We assure them, the President assures them, and as [Davao City] Mayor Sara [Duterte-Carpio] who represented the President, assured them, na okay ang Presidente (that the President is okay),” he said.
“Hindi siya gumagawa ng anumang hakbangin na makakadagdag sa kanyang karamdaman. Siya ay nagpapagamot (The President is not doing anything to put his health at risk. He is seeing a doctor),” he added.
According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Widodo and Bolkiah expressed concern over Duterte’s health when he met them in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week.
“First thing both told me was concern for their good friend President Duterte. I assured them he was fine and fitter than I am, which I admit is not saying much,” Locsin said in a tweet.
On Friday, Panelo said Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, new Japanese Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, and Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko wished Duterte a speedy recovery.
He added that Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi also said that Duterte must be reminded that he was no longer a young man and must avoid activities such as riding big motorbikes.
In his radio interview, Panelo said it was only natural for Widodo and Bolkiah to be concerned about Duterte because they admire the latter.
“Hindi na tayo nagtataka diyan sa kanila–concerned. Kasi nga hanga sila kay Presidente; hanga sila sa katapangan niya, sa kanyang political will, ang kanyang mga ginagawa para sa ating mga kababayan (We’re not surprised that they were concerned. It’s because they admire the President’s courage, political will, and the things he is doing for Filipinos),” he said.
According to Panelo, the Chief Executive spent the weekend in Davao City and will be back in Manila Monday to attend some events.
“The fact alone na nakikita natin si Presidente na uma-attend pa rin ng mga event will show na okay siya. Otherwise, hindi na naga-attend ‘yan. Ganoon lang yun (The fact alone that we see the President still attending events means he is okay. Otherwise, he will not attend. It’s that simple),” he said.
The Palace official also reiterated that there is no need for Malacañang to release a medical bulletin on Duterte’s health, saying issuing such is only required by the Constitution if the President is suffering from a serious illness.
“The fact alone na sinabing muscle spasm lang yun, ibig sabihin hindi life-threatening. Nakita nga natin, pagkababa niya sa airport dumiretso sa wake, pagkatapos nag-motorsiklo pa pagdating sa Malacañang. Hindi ba? So ibig sabihin okay ang Presidente (The fact alone that it was just muscle spasm meant it was not life-threatening. We saw him go straight to a wake from the airport, and then ride a motorcycle in Malacañang. So that means he’s okay),” Panelo said.
35th ASEAN Summit
Panelo said the President will attend the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Bangkok, Thailand, next week.
READ MORE: Duterte to attend ASEAN summit
He added that the President is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with other leaders but was not able to give other information.
He, however, could not assure if the President will be attending all Summits since President Duterte skipped some during the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore last year to take some “power naps” because of his “grueling schedule.”
“He will decide pagdating ng araw (on the day),” Panelo said when asked if Duterte will not skip any ASEAN Summit next week.
“But the fact alone na pumayag siya na ituloy ang kanyang pagpunta sa Bangkok, ibig sabihin okay siya (that he agreed to still go to Bangkok, it meant that he is okay),” he added.