MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will fly back to the capital on Monday from his hometown, Malacañang said, following criticism that the Chief Executive was allegedly missing during the government response to erstwhile super typhoon Rolly.
Duterte was in Davao City as this year's strongest storm churned across Luzon, ripping off roofs, toppling power lines and causing flooding in the hardest-hit areas where hundreds of thousands had fled their homes.
"It’s confirmed that PRRD will be flying from Davao to Manila today," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. "En route to Manila he will be conducting an aerial inspection in Bicolandia and Calabarzon."
The President may also deliver a public address "depending on whether or not they can fly back to Manila," Roque told reporters.
On Sunday, Cabinet officials held a briefing on the typhoon, which Duterte failed to attend. The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (where is the President?) trended after his no-show.
Duterte is working "24/7" to ensure that government agencies are ready for the disaster, Sen. Christopher Go said.
"Hindi ibig sabihin nasa Mindanao po ang Pangulo e hindi siya nagtatrabaho," the President's former aide said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
(Not because the President is in Mindanao means that he is not working.)
Rolly, which officials said left at least 10 dead, moved away from the country's landmass on Monday morning, prompting state weather bureau PAGASA to lift storm signals.