(Statement of Salvador S. Panelo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson on the 75th birthday of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 28 March 2020)
In the midst of a global health crisis and under a cloud of gloom that looms in the horizon in this beautiful country of ours, the President is to mark his 75th birthday today, March 28.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will self-quarantine himself on his birthday following the advice of the Presidential Security Group as well as doctors for his protection following his exposure to some officials who themselves may have been exposed to a confirmed Covid-19 victim. He will continue with his work while on quarantine. His only birthday wish is for our countrymen to stay home and the total eradication of the coronavirus.
At times the President expresses regrets for allowing himself to respond to the clamor of the people to run for President, as having been placed in the highest post of the land, he carries the responsibility of serving and protecting the Filipino people at all cost. The enormity, magnitude and the complexity of such task can go beyond the capability of even the most prepared and formidable individual.
Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s presidency has been characterised with his unwavering war against drugs, criminality, corruption, rebellion and terrorism. In between those unrelenting aggression against the enemies of the state and order, his mettle as a leader was tested by powerful typhoons, rampaging floods, thundering earthquakes, and terrifying volcano eruptions that wreak havoc and destruction to the towns and cities, as well as to edges of the archipelago.
As if these human and natural monstrosities were not enough to test the nerves and leadership of this President, our country is now in the precipice of annihilation as he leads us to face this Armageddon of an unseen lethal invader of a disease that is creeping into our people’s lifeblood, killing them slowly and painfully into their graves.
Under these foreboding and grim circumstances how can we greet him with a hearty Happy Birthday!?
But the birth of a person is an event that can not pass without recognizing it as a gift from the Almighty. We take therefore this occasion to thank God for giving life to this maverick of a President, and for lending us his time and his indefatigable spirit to serve and protect the people with his unorthodox ways and selfless brand of public service that puts to risk his life, honor and the presidency.
The nation’s prayers for your good health and well being go to you Mr. President on this day of your birth. Long life! We pray that the Almighty continue to give you enough good health and divine guidance as you safely navigate our people through the rampaging waves of this treacherous ocean of a dreadful disease. God bless.