Malacañang said President Duterte felt like a father who lost his kids when four soldiers died in a misencounter with members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Jolo, Sulu last week.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after netizens pointed out that President Duterte looked weak when he was talking to soldiers in Zamboanga City on Friday.
In his Monday presser, Roque assured the public that the President is healthy but said Duterte grew weak because of his sadness over the incident.
“Matamlay po talaga siya dahil talagang kusang malungkot. Doon ko lang po nakita na talagang napakalungkot ng ating Presidente (He was really weak because he was really sad. That was the first time I saw him like that),” he said.
“Para siyang ama na namatayan ng mga anak dahil nag-away-away (He was like a father who lost his children because they are fighting),” he added.
“At some point, nagka-crack po ang kanyang voice. At doon ko lang po nakita na talagang (his voice cracked. That’s when I realized that) he took it very personally),” he continued.
Roque said this was the reason why Duterte promised to give justice to the slain soldiers.
The Palace official, meanwhile, reiterated the President’s appeal to them to let the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) get to the bottom of the situation.
“Siya mismo ang parang pinaka-apektado, bukod pa po sa mga pamilya ng mga namatayan (Aside from the bereaved family of the killed soldiers, he was the most affected),” Roque said.
“So that’s not health-related, it’s more of an emotional issue,” he added.
On Friday, President Duterte told soldiers in Zamboanga that they should not cultivate the hatred they are feeling towards the police. He likewise asked them not to avenge their fallen comrades even though he understood that they might be feeling angry about what happened.
“Hindi ko kayo mapigilan. Kung gusto niyo gumanti, kung gusto niyo mag-resbak (I cannot stop you. If you want to take revenge), go ahead, I will not stop you. But also at the end of the day, just give me one answer. Did the country benefit from furthering the violence?” Duterte said.
“You want to take revenge? For what? Gusto mo pumatay ng pulls (You want to kill a cop)? For what? Would it make the four officers come back to life?” he added.