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(Updated 4:32 p.m.) At least two Malacañang officials denied that President Benigno Aquino III walked out of the disaster relief briefing in Tacloban, Leyte on Sunday.
In a statement issued Sunday night, the Palace said Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary for Media Relations Renato Marfil "denies President Aquino walked out of disaster relief briefing in Tacloban, says he just took a bathroom break."
Marfil issued the statement after it was reported that Aquino walked out of the briefing after being dismayed at the supposed unpreparedness of local officials there against Typhoon Yolanda.
Aside from this, the President was also reportedly annoyed when a local businessman asked him to declare Martial Law to prevent anymore instances of looting.
During a press conference on Monday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda likewise said "there was no walk out."
"Hindi po siya nagalit. Nag-break lang po siya," he said.
He explained that Aquino only wanted the officials to settle conflicting figures before they proceeded with their discussion.
"That’s a normal way of the President would do things. So there was no walk out. He just asked for them to clear things up, he’ll take a break first, and then after five minutes he came back," he said.
Lacierda added that the President was surprised when he found out that news spread that he had walked out of the briefing.
"[He said] “Ha? Nagwalk out ba ako?” Hindi. He [PNoy] just took a break," Lacierda said. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News