In his briefing today, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is in ‘perpetual isolation,’ undergoes regular RT-PCR testing, following Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec and National Task Force COVID-19 vice chairperson Eduardo Año once again testing positive for COVID-19 on August 15.
Roque said Duterte had an August 10 meeting with the DILG Secretary. Año announced his positive test results a day later and said he started experiencing flu-like symptoms on August 14.
To assure the president is protected, Roque said, “The president is in perpetual isolation because no one can come close to him. Whenever we meet with him, there’s a velvet rope that keeps him at least six feet away from everyone else. No one can really come close to the president.”
Journalists are among those who questioned Roque’s “perpetual isolation” statement.
What kind of nation has a leader who needs to be in “perpetual isolation”. Even in the era of digital comms, that sounds like the boy in the plastic bubble. And Duterte isn’t even techie. This makes him even vulnerable to “gatekeepers”. So, just who will be running the govt? https://t.co/ACeCeUQCOO
— inday espina varona (@indayevarona) August 17, 2020
What does this mean? To be in ‘perpetual isolation’ while in office? https://t.co/yqjbG61Ufz
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) August 17, 2020
Ang ibig ba sabihin ay hindi na natin siya makakahalubilo forever and ever and ever? kasi “perpetual isolation” e.
baka ang ibig sabihin ni spox ay “indefinite” or “long-term.” https://t.co/bnMtJ7Dzwm
— Lynda Jumilla-Abalos (@lyndajumilla) August 17, 2020
Many found the statement ‘vague’ and some were alarmed by what it could mean.
Presidential Spokesperson Roque: “President Duterte is in perpetual isolation.” He’s into a lot of perpetual things, actually. Perpetually late, perpetually incoherent, perpetually useless.
— Gerry Cacanindin (@GerryCacanindin) August 17, 2020
RIP po tatay digs
Rest in Perpetual [isolation] 🙂 https://t.co/LFSJLaVQfM
— Papa.Ojie (@TataOjie) August 17, 2020
What does ‘perpetual isolation’ mean? And a velvet rope? Like a wax figure? ? https://t.co/SdK7oPhC7I
— Abi Valte (@Abi_Valte) August 17, 2020
President Duterte is in perpetual isolation? How about a perpetual resignation? Would be better.
— Enzo De Borja (@EnzoDeBorja) August 17, 2020
— Don’t AskMe Malabana (@tumorbiologist) August 17, 2020
Perpetual isolation, alright. pic.twitter.com/T6qryLXVES
— ? zsǝüƃ ɐɹʇǝԀ (@DarwinAwardsPH) August 17, 2020
If he is in "perpetual isolation" then why does he have to be tested "regularly?" https://t.co/LM8xPA0bsI
— Ar brrrt brrrt Czarsaparilla Bernardo (@ArbetBernardo) August 17, 2020
So Duterte who is on “perpetual isolation” will make a “right decision” based on his “infinite wisdom” accdg to Roque.
What we need is for Duterte & his minions to be “perpetually banned” from holding public office, for the “right leader” who has “infinite wisdom” to take over.
— Ryan (@rryyyaaaannnn) August 17, 2020
If the president is under perpetual isolation, then who is in charge? Who is running the country? Is the president fully in control? If the president is incapacitated, then the second in command (the VP) should take over.
— Jan Robert R Go 吴安平 (@WuAnping) August 17, 2020
nah bc perpetual isolation sounds like something i have been doing since march and in simpleman's term it's simply just avoidance of everything
— ☁︎ mute me now pls (@forgetmenaths) August 17, 2020
Paano na si Bong Go? https://t.co/fJIeZEzPa0
— Antonio L. Tinio (@tonchi) August 17, 2020
"perpetual isolation" in the midst of a pandemic is incapacity to perform the functions of the office.
a true leader will not selfishly hide while the nation is suffering.
— Pilo Hilbay (@fthilbay) August 17, 2020
Roque held the briefing from his home, as he went on self-quarantine following his exposure to Año.
Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) would meet with Duterte virtually tonight. There had been allegations that Duterte went out of the country this weekend, but Malacañang said these allegation were false.
He also said Duterte would address the public tonight if the IATF meeting finishes early, to announce quarantine classifications of Metro Manila and four nearby provinces that were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from August 4 to 18.