Duterte emotional, not ill – Palace

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte emotional, not ill â Palace
President Duterte meets with soldiers at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City on July 3.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte’s seemingly weak appearance during his visit to Zamboanga City last week was not health-related but caused by an “emotional issue” following the death of four soldiers at the hands of police in Sulu, Malacañang said yesterday.

There were observations that Duterte looked weak when he delivered a speech before soldiers at Edwin Andrews Air Base last Friday. During his speech, the President urged soldiers to remain calm and to wait for results of the investigation as exacting revenge won’t yield anything beneficial.

“He looked frail because he was really sad. It was the first time I saw the President that sad. He was like a father who lost children because of a quarrel among themselves,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in Filipino at a press briefing.

“He was really emotional. At some point, his voice cracked... he really took very personally the incident in Jolo... So that’s not health-related, it’s more of an emotional issue,” he added.

Four Army intelligence personnel were shot dead by policemen in Jolo last week but the military and the police have different versions of the incident. Police reports said a shooting incident happened after the soldiers had defied an order for them to proceed to the municipal police station to validate their identities. But the Army maintained that there was no shootout because the soldiers were not armed. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are looking into the incident.

“He (Duterte) promised to deliver justice... Let’s just leave the investigation to the NBI because he seems to be the most affected, besides the family of the slain soldiers,” Roque said.

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