After postponing his public address twice this week, Filipinos are, once again, caught up asking about President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s whereabouts as the country battles over 800,000 COVID-19 infections and over 14,000 deaths on Wednesday, April 7.
Speculations on Duterte’s whereabout rose on Wednesday after Malacanang announced the cancelation of his weekly ‘Talk to the People.’
The Chief Executive last delivered his speech on March 29, a day after his controversial 76th birthday celebration in his hometown, Davao City, the same day he was seen welcoming the arrival of one million Sinovac vaccine doses.
The announcement of postponement comes after his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio confirmed her flight to Singapore on Tuesday was for “personal health management.”
Reports said Duterte-Carpio was seen boarding a Singapore flight around 2:15 PM with one of her children, a nanny, and a member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
This prompted the public to speculate even more that the President and his daughter might be together abroad which leads to Singapore being the number one trending topic in Twitter Philippines alongside #NasaanAngPangulo, #PatayNaBa, and #DutertePalpak.
— Gary Miller (@pldtsuckmahdick) April 7, 2021
— dingdong dancesteps (@DarylleOnTheMix) April 7, 2021
People are tweeting #NasaanAngPangulo out of concern NOT for Duterte but for a country devoid of a competent, sensitive and breathing leader amid a health crisis.
— The Professional Heckler™️ (@hecklerforever8) April 7, 2021
He is somewhere:
1. Sick and taking medication
2. With his daughter for personal "funds" management
3. Taking a different vaccine secretly
4. Hiding from this country's problems
Why all these speculations? Well, he left us a big space for these.
— Ake Hoa (@ake_hoa) April 7, 2021
This is not the first time that #NasaanAngPangulo trended on social media platform Twitter.
It can be recalled in 2020, while Luzon is heavily battered by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses, the public brought to light the absence of the President in two media briefings intended for the immediate response of thousands of Filipinos affected.
Bong Go, Palace responds
In a statement, his longtime aide Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go shared “proof of life” photos of the President seated across each other at a table, with a copy of a newspaper dated April 7 at one corner.
“Sa mga may masasamang Hangarin, Wag muna kayo mag celebrate!! Nandito lang si Tatay Digong. Tambak ang trabaho,” he said in his Facebook post.
“Suot ko damit kong dilaw pero DU30 yan!!! Sana tulungan na lang natin ang ating mahal na Pangulo para malagpasan natin ang crisis na ito bilang nagkaka-isang mamamayang Pilipino,” he added.
Malacanang, meanwhile, said the President “remains to be fit and healthy for his age.”
“We thank the Filipino people for voicing their concern and wishing the Chief Executive’s strength and good health during this time of COVID-19 pandemic as he continues to discharge his functions as the head of the government,” its statement read.
Likewise, it expressed gratitude for making Duterte the “most approved and the most trusted national public official” following the result from a non-commissioned survey.
“The latest survey sends a clear message that our people are generally happy with the leadership and performance of the President. This strong public confidence would certainly motivate and inspire the President, along with the members of the Cabinet, to work harder and serve the people, especially during this time of global crisis,” it added.
— DZRH NEWS (@dzrhnews) April 8, 2021