MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte appeared frail last week because he was "emotional" over the death of four soldiers in the hands of police officers, Malacañang said Monday as it dismissed rumors of the chief executive's failing health.
A frail-looking Duterte met with troops on Friday in Zamboanga City, sparking concern about his condition.
"That's not health related. It's more of an emotional issue," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said of Duterte's appearance.
The President was really sad over the incident, Roque said, noting that the chief executive's voice even cracked when he met with soldiers and the police officers involved in the killing.
"Doon ko lang po talaga nakita na napakalungkot ng ating Presidente. Para siyang ama na namatayan ng mga anak dahil nag-away-aaway," Roque said.
(It was the only time that I saw the President really sad. He was like a father who lost his children due to infighting.)
"Talagang emotional po siya (Duterte). At some point, nagka-crack 'yung kaniyang voice at doon ko lang po nakita talagang he took it very personal, itong nangyari po sa Jolo," he added.
(He was really emotional. At some point, his voice was cracking and that was the only time that I saw him like that. He took the incident in Jolo as a very personal one.)
Duterte, who is known to be fond of law enforcers--particularly the police and soldiers, has refused to take sides in the killing of soldiers and appealed for sobriety as the National Bureau of Investigation probes the incident.
He assured soldiers of an impartial investigation into the incident that has marred ties between the military and the police.