Duterte skips AFP change of command ceremony

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2019 05:30 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2019 08:00 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - For the first time since assuming the presidency in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday skipped the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) change-of-command ceremony to rest due to a slight fever.

The President, who was supposed to lead the event at Camp Aguinaldo, was instead represented by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Vice President Leni Robredo also attended. 

Duterte was expected to witness the assumption of Lt. Gen. Noel Clement of the military’s top post. Clement replaces retiring AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained that Duterte’s “punishing schedule of official and social events the previous days has slightly affected his body temperature.” 

“He opted to rest so he can be his usual healthy self in no time,” Panelo said, noting that the President was resting at Bahay ng Pagbabago in Malacañang on Tuesday night.

Duterte, 74, on Sunday attended the christening of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s daughter, and Panelo’s birthday party on Monday night.

While Duterte has skipped several engagements in the past, he often attends events hosted by the military and police.

He is also known to appoint former military chiefs to key government posts such as Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.