MALACAÑANG denied reports that President Rodrigo Duterte had “passed out” on his way to attend a meeting yesterday.
“No such thing (happened),” was Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella’s text message to Palace reporters.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Special Presidential Assistant Christopher Go also belied reports that the President had collapsed.
“So far negative. There’s no such story,” Andanar said.
Reporters covering Malacañang Palace received text messages after lunch yesterday claiming that Duterte “passed out” moments before he was set to attend a meeting inside the Palace.
The President was supposed to meet with senior Bangladeshi officials at 2:30 p.m., but he had to skip the meeting “due to pressing matters that demand the President’s immediate attention,” according to Abella.
Abella said representatives of the Bangladeshi government had met with the appropriate heads of agencies to discuss their concern regarding the stolen $81 million from the Bangladesh bank, which was laundered in the Philippines.
Reports earlier said that Duterte’s meeting with ranking officials of Bangladesh had been cancelled.
“At any rate said Bangladeshi officials have already meet with various heads of agencies to discuss matters regarding the heist,” Abella said in a statement.
So far, Bangladesh has recovered $15 million of the funds stolen by hackers from its central bank last February.
The Bangladeshi officials were led by the South Asian nation’s minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, attorney general, central bank governor, Ministry of Finance secretary and a parliamentarian.
The Bangladeshi delegation was also set to meet with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. during their four-day visit, according to Bangladesh ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes.
The Palace said that Duterte was healthy enough to “stand the responsibilities and demands” of his job as the country’s Chief Executive.
“We would like to assure our people that the President is in good physical and mental health. He is strong and agile and can stand the responsibilities and demands of the presidency,” Andanar said.