MANILA (UPDATE) — Amid questions on the President's whereabouts, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go on Saturday released undated photos and a video of the chief executive, as if to ease concerns and respond to criticism over his absence from public light.
"Mga kababayan ko, malungkot at mahirap ang maging Pangulo sa panahong ito. Suportahan natin si Tatay Digong, ang taong totoong nagmamahal," said Go, Duterte's former long-time aide, in a Facebook post.
(My compatriots, it is sad and hard to be president during these times. Let us support Tatay Digong, the one who truly loves.)
In the post, Duterte, who recently turned 76, can be seen on a walk within the Malacañang compound, wearing a face mask and face shield. A short clip showed him jogging, while photos showed him walking and on a bike.
It was not clear when the images were taken.
The images are Go's followup to a post on Wednesday, which showed Duterte working on a desk, and him in the frame. He had said then the President was "just here" and was "swamped with work."
Duterte had skipped Day of Valor rites on Friday, with his spokesman saying it was because of the continuing community quarantine across the country.
He also did not have his usual weekly public address because of the surge in COVID-19 cases, said his spokesman Harry Roque. Some 120 members of his security team had recently contracted the disease.
Duterte tested negative for COVID-19 in his last swab test over the Holy Week, Go earlier said. Roque, meanwhile, said the President "remains fit and healthy for his age."
Questions and rumors on the President's health again surfaced in recent weeks amid his absence from public view. He has several conditions, including Barrett’s esophagus, an inflammation of the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.
He has also several times said publicly that he struggles with back pain, migraines and Buerger's disease, which is linked to blockages in the blood vessels associated with smoking when he was young.
In March, he joked that he might have cancer after coughing during a public address.