'What's wrong with my naps?' says Duterte after skipping ASEAN meetings
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - November 15, 2018 - 1:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has justified his absence from several Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Singapore.

On Wednesday, the Philippine leader missed the special summits with Australia and South Korea, as well as the working lunch for ASEAN leaders and the gala dinner.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. attended the meetings that the president skipped.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte missed the meetings because "he took power naps to catch on sleep."

According to sleep experts, power naps should last from 10 to 30 minutes. The meetings that Duterte skipped would last for approximately one hour each.

On Thursday morning, Duterte told reporters that his nap was "enough to sustain endurance for the last days" and confirmed that he would be attending the remaining meetings and a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Duterte implied that there was nothing wrong with his absence from the meetings as he had to take his power naps.

"What's wrong with my nap? I don't eat breakfast and I'm sure you know that," Duterte said.

Panelo earlier said that they find it "amusing" that some are "making a big fuss" of the president's skipping "a few" meetings in the ASEAN summit.

The Malacañang spokesman pointed out that Duterte was able to attend the ASEAN-China Summit and delivered the common statement as country coordinator. The president was also able to witness the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Eurasian Economic Commission and ASEAN on economic cooperation, Panelo added.

Duterte also held a bilateral meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is this year's ASEAN chair.

"We assure the nation that his aforementioned absence has nothing to do with his physical health and well-being which have been the subject of speculation," Panelo said.

Duterte's health condition has long been a point of discussion but Malacañang has been insistent that there is "nothing extraordinary" on his medical procedures.

In September, the president admitted that he had gone through endoscopy and colonoscopy, citing a family history of constipation.

Duterte also revealed that he has a bad case of Barrett's disease, a chronic and usually severe gastrointestinal reflux disease or GERD.

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