MANILA (UPDATE) — Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs denied Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte cut short his visit to Japan this week because he was snubbed during Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the Chrysanthemum throne, which drew royalty and political leaders from around the world.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said such rumors were "absolutely false." The Palace earlier said Duterte experienced "unbearable pain in his spinal column" during his 2-day Japan visit due to a motorcycle accident.
A certain Ding Velasco, however, claimed on social media that this was a "ruse" to cut Duterte's visit after he was "unceremoniously ignored in Japan" and "relegated down the line" in the enthronement's seating arrangement for confirming his attendance at the last minute.
"The allegations are false," DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said in a message to reporters, citing information from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.
Last week, the President fell off his dirt bike after he made a sharp turn at Malacañang compound, landing on his left elbow, according to his former aide Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
Two other versions had Duterte falling off his parked bike as he tried to tie his shoe, and another where he reportedly bumped into an obstruction on his way out of a garage in the compound.
Duterte, 74, missed the Emperor Naruhito's banquet Tuesday night and requested daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who had traveled with him, to represent him.
The President on Thursday felt "much better" and his doctors ruled out any surgical procedure, advising him instead to rest and take pain relievers for muscle spasms, said his spokesman Salvador Panelo.
Duterte will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Thursday to discuss infrastructure projects, Panelo added. -With a report from Willard Cheng and Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News