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Not out of touch

  • Written by Peoples Journal
  • Published in Newsdesk
  • Read: 152

True, the Presidency is a 24/7 job.

But where is it written that he must be seen and heard by the people on real time ‘round the clock?
    
The President, after all, is still a human being who needs privacy for personal and national security reasons every now and then.
    
And so what’s the big deal for the four days he was out of public sight?  
    
President Duterte returned to public duties Saturday after nearly a week of absence that sparked speculation over his health as government forces battled Islamist militants in the biggest crisis of his rule.
    
Duterte, 72, attended a ceremony commemorating the founding of a province and later met with troops in Butuan City.
    
Responding to questions from reporters, a jovial Duterte said: "My state of health is -- what you see is what you get," he said, adding that his last medical examination was last year.
    
Asked if he had any surgery or blood transfusion during his absence, he joked that he had had a "circumcision".
    
"What's your problem? There's a vice president," he added.
    
Duterte had not been seen in public since Sunday as security forces tried to drive Islamist militants from Marawi City.
    
Presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said Thursday that Duterte withdrew from public duties to "rejuvenate" after a punishing schedule, which included regular provincial sorties.
    
Duterte was last seen on June 11 in Cagayan de Oro, visiting soldiers wounded in the fighting with Islamic State group-styled gunmen in Marawi.
    
He missed a scheduled appearance the following day at annual Independence Day celebrations in Manila.
    
Duterte imposed martial law over Marawi and the rest of Mindanao, home to 20 million people, on the day the fighting erupted on May 23 to head off what he said was an attempt by IS to carve out its own territory there.
    
Duterte had repeatedly denied during last year's presidential election campaign that he suffered from cancer.