By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte, after about a week out of the public eye, resurfaced at Malacañang Palace on Tuesday during the presentation of credentials of Thailand’s Ambassador Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng.
“Your Excellency, I was informed that you’re already here. Pardon for about two minutes late. I was just signing some papers,” Mr. Duterte, who was last seen in public on Election Day, said in his remarks.
He added: “But I am very happy of your presence today and congratulations to your new deployment. I understand this is the first ambassadorial assignment that you have for the Republic of Thailand. I’m sure that you would learn so many things along the way. You won’t have a hard time. We are similar in all things including our desire to have a peaceful southeast Pacific region. Welcome.”
Mr. Duterte also invited the Thai ambassador to a room in the Palace for a private conversation.
“Just a few minutes, may I invite you to a room so we can have a little tete-a-tete and before that I’d like to have a picture with you. I’d learned that a very handsome guy from Thailand visited my country,” he said.
Last Sunday, there were rumors that the President was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement that there was “no truth to the rumor.”
“The President is in his residence at the Palace signing papers. I just talked to him, he is neither confirming nor denying that he went to the hospital,” Mr. Panelo said.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Mr. Panelo told reporters: “You know, you must remember that the President is very transparent on his health condition. During the presidential campaign, he was already telling us na matanda na siya, lahat ng sakit ng ganoong edad mayroon siya (that he is old already and he has all the illnesses typical to his age).”
“Nothing to worry about,” he added.