Let sleeping dogs lie
The 73-year-old President was reported to have missed four of 11 meetings and a gala dinner at a regional summit last week and over the weekend. His spokesmen said he had been taking “power naps.” Mr. Duterte himself later expressed surprise at people’s reaction to his absences: “What’s wrong with my nap?” he asked. In his stead, he fielded his trade secretary to join other Southeast Asian heads of state in the traditional photo session. In fact, it was a bonus that Mr. Duterte stayed on after he had said he wanted to head back home earlier. It is likely he did not feel well, even as his spokesmen said he merely lacked sleep. Or it could be he could not contain his disdain of and discomfort at such formal, high-level gatherings. An official told foreign media that Mr. Duterte feels “constrained by formalities and finds them unproductive and a slight waste of time.” His applauding loyalists chalk it up as Mr. Duterte being true to his maverick, honest self. Others, however, are not as merciful. Before seeking the post, he should have known that being president entailed hobnobbing with his foreign counterparts. He should appreciate the value of visiting and being visited. And if he were indeed feeling sick, why even leave the country to begin with?