Duterte cuts short Japan trip, sets consultation with neurologist today

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to attend the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Carl Court/Pool Photo via AP)

Days after Malacañang assured the public that President Duterte is “fine” after he figured in a motorcycle mishap, the Chief Executive has cut short his trip to Japan due to “unbearable pain in his spinal column near the pelvic bone.”

In a news statement, Malacañang said the President is slated to see a neurologist today, October 23, for consultation a day after returning to the country on Tuesday evening. Prior to the announcement, the President was supposed to return to the country tomorrow, October 24, after attending the enthronement rites of Emperor Naruhito on Tuesday and two banquets­—Emperor’s banquet (October 22) and the Prime Minister’s banquet (October 23).

“The Palace announces that the President will cut short his trip to Japan due to unbearable pain in his spinal column near the pelvic bone as a consequence of his fall during his motorcycle ride last [Wednesday, October 16],” said Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo on Tuesday.

Despite the ordeal, Panelo confirmed the President still attended the historical enthronement rites on Tuesday, although he carried a cane to assist him in walking.

As for the two banquets, the President requested Mayor Sara Duterte to represent him and attend on his behalf.

“While this was unforeseeable, the public can rest be assured that there is nothing to worry as regards the physical health and condition of the President as he gives serious priority thereto in actively serving our country,” Panelo added.

In a one-minute Facebook live video through Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Tuesday afternoon, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he was in pain due to the motorcycle accident.

Alam mo, about four days ago, sumemplang ako sa motor. E pag nagmo-motor ka once or twice sa buhay mo, makatikim talaga ng  semplang. Lahat ng nagmo-motor sumesemplang. Kagaya sa akin…parang hindi ko matiis ’yung sa belt banda, mga 3 inches, medyo masakit. [You know, about four days ago, I fell off the motorcycle. If you are riding a motorcycle, once or twice you will really figure in an accident. Every motorcycle rider falls off the motorcycle. Like me…I just can’t bear it. Around the belt area, about 3 inches, it is painful],” he said.

For his part, Go said in a second Facebook live video that the Filipino people should not worry since the President is fine.

He also said the President will not stop riding the motorcycle even after the accident.

Sa mga kapatid nating Pilipino ’wag kayong mag-alala, nasa mabuting kalagayan ang ating mahal na pangulo. Nandito pa, nagbabasa ng kaniyang mga paboritong litrato ng motor. At hindi pa rin daw siya titigil mag-motor dahil hindi raw siya mabubuhay kung hindi raw siya magmo-motor. [To all our fellow Filipinos, don’t worry. The President is in good condition. Here he is, he even looks at pictures of his favorite motorcycle. And he will not stop riding the motorcycle because he cannot live without riding,]” he said.

To recall, Malacañang on Thursday last week downplayed the accident, calling it a “minor” one.

Panelo earlier said the President is fine and his recovery entails no major medical procedure. He also expressed confidence that the President will not be canceling any of his activities due to the accident.

The President had a minor injury, particularly light bruises and slight scratches to his elbow and knee after he fell off his motorcycle when he reached for his shoe.

The incident occurred when the President already parked his motorcycle at the compound of the Presidential Security Group.

While there were on-and-off rumors about the President’s health, Malacañang has since stood firm that the release of a medical bulletin is not needed, saying there is nothing serious for the public to be concerned about.

Article VII Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution states that: “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”

Image credits: AP


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