MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte made his first public appearance Saturday after his absence from the public eye over the past 5 days, appearing stern and strong as he delivered back-to-back speeches at two sites in Agusan del Norte.
The 72-year-old commander-in-chief, the oldest in history to become president, explained that was out of public sight for almost a week because he was "extremely tired."
Prior to his speech, the president last had a public event Sunday night, when he honored soldiers slain in conflict-torn Marawi City at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Duterte had failed to appear at Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park on Monday, supposedly his first as president, fueling speculations about the state of his health.
Duterte said he did not mean to skip the June 12 celebration, saying he needed to rest.
Malacañang on Thursday released photos of Duterte to dismiss rumors that the President was ill. The photos showed the president working at his official residence.
Some lawmakers earlier called on the Palace to make public the president's health status amid his absence.