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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Where's Duterte? Philippines President 'Tired' and Takes Holiday as ISIS Take Over Marawi City

Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ strongman leader, has taken a week off while swaths of his country continue to face the horrors of an Islamic State group (ISIS) siege. Philippine forces have been battling Islamist militants in Marawi for three weeks: Civilians are starving and some have resorted to “eating blankets” to survive.

Duterte has not been seen in public since Saturday. Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesman, told reporters Duterte was “tired” and needed to “rejuvenate.” The president missed 

Independence day celebrations leading some to question whether he was sick, but Abella said he was not ill.

During his presidential campaign, the 72-year-old reiterated that he did not have cancer but admitted to taking painkillers for a spinal injury.

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte answer questions during a press briefing after awarding wounded soldiers, who fight against the insurgents of the Maute group, which has taken over large parts of the Marawi city, during his visit at the military camp hospital in Cagayan De Oro, Philippines June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Local journalists demanded to know whether Duterte has seen doctors this week. Abella said: 

“I’m not privy to those matters but I’m sure he’s checked with his own experts.”

The opposition called Duterte’s health a “national security issue.”

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