Malacañang on Monday defended its move to conduct its briefing on the same day Super Typhoon Rolly was pounding the country — a briefing that President Rodrigo Duterte failed to attend.
Asked during a press conference on why the government only held the briefing on Sunday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque noted that Rolly made landfall that same day.
"Well, dahil inaasahan po nga natin iyong landfall kahapon ‘no at saka sa totoo lang po, araw ng Linggo naman iyon, pero maski araw ng Linggo po nandito po lahat iyong kalihim para nga po iparating ang kahandaan ng gobyerno sa pagbigigay ng tulong doon sa mga nasalanta ng NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council)," he said.
"So ang tanong po, bakit lang kahapon? Kasi kahapon naman po pumasok iyong bagyo, ‘no?" Roque added.
Duterte, Roque also said, was working from Davao City and intends to do an "aerial survey" of areas devastated by Rolly.
“Depende po ito sa kung papayagan siya. He wants to at least do an aerial survey,” he said.
Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, in a separate briefing on Monday, said Duterte is set to visit within the day Legazpi City and other areas affected by Rolly.
"Ang ating Pangulo ay mismong pupunta mamayang hapon doon sa mga lugar na tinamaan ng bagyo. 'Yung mga hardest hit ay kanyang bibisitahin," he said.
Roque then later sent a message to reporters: "It’s confirmed that PRRD will be flying from Davao to Manila today. En route to Manila he will be conducting an aerial inspection in Bicolandia and Calabarzon."
On Sunday, Go said Duterte was monitoring the situation from Davao City. He also said Duterte was ready to return anytime should the weather permit it.
Go is a former aide to President Duterte.
President Duterte has yet to address the nation or attend a government briefing since Rolly entered PAR last October 29.
After it caused devastation as it cut through Luzon, Rolly weakened into a tropical storm and continued to traverse the West Philippine Sea on Monday.
Rolly is expected to exit PAR on Tuesday morning. —KG/KBK, GMA News