Rumors of an ailing President Duterte are not helpful to the people especially at this time, the spokesman of Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday, April 14, as he emphasized the importance of seeing him healthy and able to lead the country earlier this week.
During an interview over DABIGC Radio — Prontoelpunto, Robredo spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez said Duterte’s presence during his televised Cabinet meeting on Monday night reassures Filipinos amid the surging number of coronavirus cases.
“Lalo na krisis, ‘di ba siyempre, gusto mo nandiyan, ‘di ba? (Especially in a crisis, of course, you want him to be there, right?),” Gutierrez, a lawyer, said.
“At ako nga, noong lumabas siya noong Lunes, nagpapasalamat ako dahil kahit papaano, na-address iyong mga umiikot na mga tsismis tungkol sa may sakit, may nangyari na daw, etc. At tingin ko sa panahon na ito, importante na alam nating nandiyan iyong ating lider (For me, when he was seen last Monday, I was thankful because the rumors of his being sick, that something happened were finally addressed. I think at this time, it’s important to know that our leader is there),” he added.
Rumors that the President fell ill and even suffered a mild stroke surfaced on social media after he wasn’t seen for almost two weeks. Aside from his televised Cabinet meeting last Monday, the last time Duterte was seen was on March 29, the first day of the government-imposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region Plus (NCR Plus).
Gutierrez said that even the vice president herself said she constantly prays for the health of the President.
Duterte’s presence last Monday will show Filipinos that the government is focused on its pandemic response, as well as the directions the country is going, the spokesman added.
“Kailangan talaga ng assurance mula sa ating mga lider na ito ay malalagpasan natin at may malinaw tayong plano na makaahon dito (We really need an assurance from our leaders that we will survive this and that there is a concrete plan to rise up from this).”
Reports that the President fell ill are nothing new because of his old age and admission that he has been suffering from undisclosed illnesses. However, he egged his critics on Monday when he said they should pray harder for his demise.
Duterte assured the public that he is fit and able to perform his duties as Chief Executive.