President Duterte explained that he was not in Manila on the day Typhoon Rolly made landfall because he was waiting for the typhoon to pass before he flew out of Davao City.
Duterte made the statement after Filipinos online asked where he was while parts of the country were experiencing the wrath of Typhoon Rolly.
During the situation briefing on the effects of the typhoon in Malacañang, the President said he was in Davao City because he had to visit the graves of his parents before the week-long nationwide closure of cemeteries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kami taga-probinsya (We people from the province), we travel almost with regularity, bakasyon (for vacation), All Souls’ Day, kaya nga ako nauwi (that’s why I was there),’ he said Monday evening.
“Kung wala kayong patay, okay lang. Kaming may mga patay kailangan umuwi kami doon sa amin. Pero ngayon nandito na ako (If you don’t have departed loved ones to visit, then that’s okay. But for us who have them, we have to go back home. But now I’m here),” he added.
“Itong mga ugok naman ang sabi wala ako (These idiots were saying that I was absent). I was just waiting for the typhoon to pass then lumipad ako (I flew here),” he continued.
The President said that there was no difference if he was in Manila or in Davao during the typhoon.
“Yung sabi na wala ako dito kasi nasa probinsya, what’s the problem? Ang mga papeles pinadala ninyo diyan tapos pirmahan ko, ipadala ko uli. Eh, machine lang naman ‘yan (To those who are saying that I’m not here because I’m in Davao City, what’s the problem? You send me the papers, I sign them and then send them back. There’s the machine, anyway),” Duterte said.
“Do you want me to stand doon sa (there on the) white sand ni (of) [Environment Secretary] Roy Cimatu just to show that I am here?” he added, referring to the artificial white sand beach made of crushed dolomite in Manila Bay.
Malacañang has explained that even in Davao City, President Duterte was monitoring the situation. After the typhoon passed, the President immediately conducted an aerial inspection of areas in the Bicol Region and Calabarzon ravaged by “Rolly.”