MANILA, Philippines – It was lack of sleep that caused President Rodrigo Duterte to sit out the distribution of diplomas for graduates of the Philippine Military Acadamy (PMA), said Malacañang on Monday, May 27.
"He was so sleepy when he arrived at the venue. He struggled to be awake. The protocol in distributing diplomas is either he does it himself or he tasks the secretary of national defense (Delfin Lorenzana) to do it. He opted to let SND [do] the handing of certificates," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a message.
Duterte lacked sleep because he had been reading reports from departments and signing papers the night before, said Panelo. Thus, the Chief Executive went to sleep at 6 am, his usual time to sleep, giving him only a few hours to rest before he woke up at 8:30 am for the morning PMA graduation rites.
In delegating the diploma distribution to Lorenzana, Duterte "reserved his energy" for the other ceremonial acts he had to perform at the event, said Panelo.
The spokesman again asserted that the public need not worry about the President's health.
"The President is in good health," he said, adding an assurance that Duterte is "robust enough" to be pushing through with his official trip to Japan this week.
The PMA graduation was held after an entire week that the President was out of the public eye. It was during this time when rumors circulated that he had again visited Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.