PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte could work "like hell" to deliver great work as the highest official in the land, Malacañang said on Friday, November 16.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark a day after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that Duterte's "power naps" during the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and Related Summits in Singapore was a "big problem" for the Philippines.
In a statement, Panelo slammed Trillanes for another attempt to get the public's attention through the opposition senator's "usual publicity getting stunts by maligning the President."
Panelo hit back at the former-Navy-official-turned-politician, who has "no combat experience" despite eight years of military service, for wasting the taxpayers' money because the latter's acts affect the country's economic growth.
Panelo said that unlike Trillanes, Duterte has the "passion and dedication" to fulfill his mandate as the president of the country, qualities that can be found "only in men and women who consecrate themselves to the service of the nation without regard to the limits that their physique can reach."
"He (Trillanes) wasted the people’s money that paid for his schooling in the Philippine Military Academy by marching to a Makati hotel and infamously staging a failed coup and a rebellion that not only disrupted the nation’s tranquility but drove away investors as well, to the sufferance of the country’s economy," the Palace official said.
"Not having spent the spartan way of life in the military with the industriousness, diligence, and discipline that a dedicated officer imbues himself with, he (Trillanes) necessarily cannot comprehend that a man like the President could work like hell as if there is no tomorrow, with the passion and dedication," he added.
Trillanes, one of the most vocal critics of Duterte, said Thursday, November 15, that the Chief Executive's naps can either be indicators of his serious health condition of alleged laziness.
The opposition lawmaker added that Duterte's absence in several engagements during the 33rd Asean Summit and Related Summits was a "big problem for our cuntry."
"It could only be one of two things: he (Duterte) is either seriously ill that he could no longer perform his functions as President; or he is simply too lazy and irresponsible," Trillanes said in a statement.
Panelo described Trillanes's statement as a mere "product of witless, if not a malicious mind," stressing that the President "is more than able to fulfill his commitment to the nation."
He also emphasized that the Asean summit did not require Duterte's "physical presence."
"He (Duterte) administers to the affairs of the state without regard to time and condition. With this kind of zest for work, it becomes unavoidable that the President loses sleep that nourishes the body. In such a situation he will have no recourse but to take power naps between official activities," Panelo said.
"This was the situation when the President had to skip attending a few events in the Asean Summit that required him only to read prepared statements, a similar requirement given to the other heads of states, which task could be performed by the countries’ foreign secretaries or ministers," he added.
Panelo likewise stressed that even after Duterte previously admitted that he had to "constantly endure" recurring pains caused by a motorcycle accident, "the country is getting its money’s worth by the President’s selfless dedication to his constitutional duty of serving and protecting the people."
"We have witnessed how this President has chained himself to a punishing work ethic that saw him shuttling back and forth to the provinces to attend to needs of the hapless victims of war and disaster stricken areas," he said. (SunStar Philippines)