MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he "never really recovered" after a "bad spill" from a motorcycle.
Duterte was leading the awarding of government incentives to Olympic athletes when he asked, "Ano kaya ang mapanalunan natin kung tayo ang mag-compete?"
(What could we win if we were to compete?)
"Hindi nga ako makatindig dito sa—you know, I never really recovered from that bad spill sa ano, sa motor. Hindi na bumalik ‘yung ano ko," said the President.
(I cannot even stand here—you know, I never really recovered from that bad spill from the motor. My—never really returned.)
"I could not be an athlete anymore. I could only be a spectator and maybe, as a Filipino, cheer and shout for your victory," he told athletes.
While Duterte did not expound, his former aide Sen. Christopher Go said in 2019 the President fell off his 650cc dirt bike after he made a sharp turn, and landed on his left elbow.
Two other officials had different versions of the incident.
Then Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte was reaching for his shoe when he fell off the parked motorcycle resulting in "light bruises and slight scratches."
Meanwhile, then PSG Commander Brig. Gen. Jose Niembra said the President was trying out motorcycles when he bumped into an "obstruction" on his way out of a garage in the compound.
During his final State of the Nation Address last July, Duterte appeared to lose his footing. His spokesman Harry Roque said the President, 76, merely "slipped" and there was no "extraordinary" problem with his health.
In 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, 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.