By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte will keep himself busy performing his presidential duties on his 76th birthday on Sunday (March 28), Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Saturday.
Panelo issued the statement, as he confirmed that Duterte will be on self-quarantine on Sunday following the recommendation of the Chief Executive’s doctors and the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
“He (Duterte) will certainly continue with his presidential duties even under quarantine and while celebrating the quietude of the day of his birth,” he said.
This is the second time Duterte will isolate himself during his birthday due to his exposure to public officials and other individuals.
Last year, Duterte underwent self-isolation when he celebrated his 75th birthday at Malacañan Palace in Manila.
Panelo lamented that Duterte’s 76th birthday celebration is still “in midst of a global health crisis and under a cloud of gloom that has engulfed the horizon that placed in tatters our economy and placed the lives of our countrymen upside down.”
He said he thanks the Lord for allowing Duterte to take the lead in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The birth of a person is an event that cannot pass without recognizing it as a gift from the Almighty. We take therefore this occasion to thank God for giving life to this maverick of a President, and for lending us his time and his indefatigable spirit to serve and protect the people with his unorthodox ways and selfless brand of public service that puts to risk his life, honor and the presidency,” he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic, Panelo said, would not stop Duterte from “savoring the simple joy of playing with his grandchildren in Davao where he is now.”
“Consistent with his daredevil character and deep filial ties, the President, while being ensconced in relative safety with his loved ones in his comfort zone, will continue with his manning the ramparts against the enemy, with unsurprising dexterity,” Panelo said.
He said he wished that Duterte continues to enjoy “good health” and “long life.”
He made the message, as he acknowledged that Duterte’s birthday wish is for the total eradication of Covid-19 and for the Filipinos’ observance of the minimum health protocols for their safety and protection amid the spike in coronavirus cases.
On Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte wishes nothing more than “the end to the pandemic.” (PNA)