PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s health is stable after he complained of unbearable back pain that prompted him to cut his Japan trip short this week, the presidential palace said on Thursday.
“The president was advised by his doctor to rest, as well as to take medicines that will relieve him of the pain caused by the muscular spasms,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement. “His doctor ruled out any surgical procedure for the president.”
Mr. Duterte, 74, was the oldest person to be elected president of the country, and his health has been the subject of speculations.
The president underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and medical evaluation as soon as he came home from Japan.
Mr. Panelo said the President was well enough to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua “to discuss, among others, certain infrastructure projects in the country which are financed by China.”
Malacañang earlier said Mr. Duterte would divulge the results of his medical consultation. 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 presidential palace earlier assured the public that there was nothing to worry about Mr. Duterte’s health.
The president missed the Japanese emperor’s banquet at the Imperial Palace and had requested Mayor Sara Duterte to represent him and attend on his behalf.
Mr. Duterte was able to attend the enthronement rites on Tuesday while carrying a cane to help him walk.
The president earlier told the Filipino community in Russia during his visit that he suffers from an autoimmune disease that could potentially have serious complications.
Malacañang earlier this month said the illness was not serious and there was nothing to worry about.
The president had complained of not being able to sleep during his flight from Russia.
Before his visit to Japan, there were no reports of Mr. Duterte receiving medical help after the accident since he appeared to be okay after the fall, according to a palace briefing last week.
There were different accounts of what happened during his accident. Mr. Panelo said Mr. Duterte had a minor fall from the motorcycle, while the Presidential Security Group said that there was a small mishap that happened while he took out the motorcycle out of the garage.
Right after Mr. Duterte flew back to Manila on Tuesday evening from Japan, the president was seen carrying a cane at the wake of Mr. Pimentel.
A Social Weather Stations poll in December found that 66% of Filipinos were worried about Mr. Duterte’s health. — Gillian M. Cortez