Palace defends Duterte's non-public appearance for about a week
Malacanang defended on Monday President Rodrigo Duterte's absence from the public for almost one week, saying he was working in his home in Davao City.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte tried to focus on paper works why he did not have any public appearance after gracing the opening of the Palarong Pambansa on April 28 in Davao City shortly after his arrival from China where he attended the Belt and Road Forum.
"If you're not there for three-four days, (documents) would pile up. Apparently, it happened to the President. He had lots of papers to read, signed, they piled up. That's why he decided to stay in the house and work on them," he said.
In an earlier television interview, Panelo cited there is a law on telecommuting that allows an employee to work at home.
"You don't have to be suffering from any ailment for you to work in the house. In fact, we have a law that allows an employee to work at home," he said.
The Telecommuting Act, which Duterte signed into law in December last year, is applicable to the private sector.
Panelo, in the press briefing, however, clarified he only cited the telecommuting law, "so that you don't have to ask whether why a particular person is working at home."
During Duterte's absence from the public, a photo of the President watching Netflix inside his room came out.
Panelo said the only reason why it was shared was to "ease your concern that he's sick."
There has been concern about Duterte's health. Duterte earlier admitted he has been suffering from various ailments and his doctor has been extracting blood from him for testing every other day. But he has said that there was nothing serious about his health.
Duterte only again appeared in public when he attended the wake of late Speaker Prospero Nograles early Monday at Taguig City.
He is set to preside over a Cabinet meeting in Malacanang on Monday night.
Duterte would have a busy schedule for this week as he is set to join various campaign rallies prior to the May 13 elections.
On Wednesday, he will attend a campaign rally in Bohol. On Thursday, he will join the Hugpong ng Pagbabago's senatorial campaign caravan in Davao City; on Friday, Davao City's First District meeting de avance; and on Sunday, the last day of campaigning, the meeting de avance of his political party PDP-Laban, the venue of which was yet to be determined.
Panelo said it would be to the advantage of government if those who would win in the midterm senatorial elections are administration allies.
In the previous campaign rallies, Duterte had been attacking the senatorial bets of opposition Otso Diretso.
Panelo said Duterte's tactic appeared to be working for the benefit of the administration candidates.
"It appears, if you will consider the ratings of those he has endorsed, it would seem that it is very effective. Why he is doing it? I think that’s his style. It’s part of the campaign," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS