MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte merely "slipped" when he appeared to lose his footing during his State of the Nation Address, Malacañang said on Tuesday, adding there was no "extraordinary" problem with the leader's health.
Duterte was walking towards the podium of Batasang Pambansa to deliver his SONA on Monday, when he appeared to lose his balance, prompting an aide to hold him.
"Alam ninyo, wala naman po siyang extraordinary na problema. He is who is, he is a senior citizen at mukhang nadulas lang naman siya kahapon," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
(You know, there is no extraordinary problem. He is who is, he is a senior citizen, and appears he merely slipped yesterday.)
"I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, kung ang iniisip ng taumbayan ay iyong kaniyang kalusugan. Parang nadulas lang talaga siya kahapon," he said in a TV interview.
(I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, if the public is thinking about his health. He just slipped yesterday.)
Duterte, in a separate phone interview on Monday, said he stumbled after someone stepped on him.
"May natapak sa paa ko… Pero okay ako… Wala pa naman akong pain," he said.
(Someone stepped on my foot. But I am okay. I have no pain.)
He also denied rumors that he was rushed to a hospital, where a chopper allegedly landed and where members of his security team were supposedly spotted.
"Wala po, sa awa ng Diyos," he said, when asked if he was at a hospital.
(No, with God's mercy.)
Duterte said the bad weather prevented him from leaving Batasan aboard a chopper, and he instead traveled "by land" to a restaurant.
Last June, the President also appeared to lose his balance during an Independence Day program in Bulacan province. This was a "simple misstep," Malacañang said, as it again denied that the Chief Executive has a serious health problem.
Duterte on Monday joked about his health, saying, "Hindi na ako maka-pronounce mabuti baka mayroon na ako... May ambulansya ba diyan? Mukhang iba na ang--You know, I cannot pronounce the words. I hope this is not asymptomatic."
(I can't pronounce words well, I may have... is there an ambulance there? This seems different.)
Duterte, the oldest to become Philippine President, had said he suffers from Barrett’s esophagus, an inflammation of the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.
The President, in various instances, has said he also struggled with back pains, migraines and Buerger's disease, which is linked to blockages in the blood vessels associated with heavy smoking during his youth.
This year alone, his aides had to stress in at least 2 other instances that he was well.