In a statement, United States Secretary Rex W. Tillerson congratulated the Philippines, on behalf of President Donald J. Trump and the American people, in its celebration of its 119th Independence Day.
President Duterte remains healthy but opted to take a rest on Tuesday following his recent heavy schedule dealing with the Marawi conflict.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced the President’s absence at the Rizal Park and said there was no explanation given for Duterte’s skipping the event. “Today (Tuesday), he’s resting”. “The President is actually in excellent health, except for the fact that his schedule had been brutal”.
Though the President was in need of rest, Abella said the public need not worry about the Chief Executive’s health.
Since declaring martial law in Mindanao, Duterte has been visiting military camps in the south to boost the morale of his men fighting terrorists in the besieged Marawi City.
Duterte missed the Independence Day flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Rizal Park on Monday.
After the rites, Cayetano told reporters Duterte had to skip his first Independence Day as President as he lacked sleep after attending to several businesses prior to the event. However, the fact is he was already doing it for the rest of the week.
Earlier, Duterte led the arrival honors at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City for the eight Marines and approached the fatalities’ relatives to express his sympathies and condolences.
Abella said, however, that Duterte has some “long-term appointments” to keep.
In a chance interview, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the Chief Executive was not feeling well due to his jam-packed activities related to Marawi crisis.
Later in the day, Cayetano told reporters the President would not also attend the Parada ng Kalayaan event at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, which would be held Monday afternoon.
Cayetano recalled that as early as 5:30 a.m., he received a call from the Duterte’s aides, saying that the President is “okay but exhausted and doesn’t feel that well, so better to rest”.
Vice President Leni Robredo led the commemorative activities in place of Duterte.