Duterte, Citing ‘Unbearable’ Back Pain, Cuts Japan Trip Short – The New York Times

A spokesman for the Philippine president said he was still suffering after falling from a motorcycle last week.

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will cut short a trip to Japan and return to the Philippines because of “unbearable pain” from a motorcycle accident last week, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

Mr. Duterte, who flew to Japan on Monday to attend an enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito, is expected to come home on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday as planned, said the spokesman, Salvador Panelo. He said the president was experiencing “unbearable pain in his spinal column near the pelvic bone as a consequence of his fall during his motorcycle ride.”

Mr. Duterte, 74, will miss an imperial banquet, which his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, will attend in his place, Mr. Panelo said. He said the president would consult his neurologist on Wednesday.

Mr. Duterte’s aides announced on Thursday that he had stumbled off his motorcycle after parking it, following a ride around his security staff’s compound. Mr. Panelo said the president had fallen while reaching for his shoe, and that he had sustained “light bruises and minor scratches.”

Mr. Duterte appeared later Thursday at a business forum and dismissed the episode as minor.

The fall came amid recent concern about the health of the president, who has recently disclosed that he suffers from a variety of ailments. He said this month that he has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to skeletal muscle weakness, which he said ran in his family.

Mr. Duterte has also recently been out of the public eye for days at a time, leading to speculation about his whereabouts and his health. After his motorcycle accident last week, the opposition Liberal Party called for full disclosure of his hospital records.

The president’s medical issues have had little effect on his ability to stir controversy with bloody rhetoric about his war on drugs, during which thousands of people have been killed by police officers and vigilantes.

Last week, Mr. Duterte said he had told a police commander that he was “free to kill everybody” in Bacolod, a city he said was plagued by drug syndicates. A spokesman later said that Mr. Duterte had only been using colorful language to make a point.

Source: Duterte, Citing ‘Unbearable’ Back Pain, Cuts Japan Trip Short – The New York Times

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