Duterte feels ‘much better’; to meet with Chinese vice premier: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2019 08:20 AM | Updated as of Oct 24 2019 11:55 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will push through with his meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Thursday since he is already feeling “much better,” Malacañang said a day after the chief executive consulted with doctors on the “unbearable” pain in his spine that forced him to cut short his trip to Japan last Tuesday.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said doctors ruled out any surgical procedure for the President as he was only advised to rest and take pain relievers for muscle spasms, which caused his back pains.

“The Palace assures our countrymen that they need not worry about the President's health. The Chief Executive has been advised by his doctor to rest for a couple of days and limit his physical activity, particularly avoiding standing or walking for long duration,” Panelo said.

“The President is presently feeling much better,” he added.

Despite being told to limit his physical activity, President Duterte would still host the Chinese vice premier in Malacañang on Thursday to discuss infrastructure projects, Panelo explained.

Duterte, 74, was in Tokyo on Tuesday for the enthronement of Japanese Emperor Naruhito but had to return to the Philippines due to back pains. 

He witnessed the ceremonies in the day but missed the banquet Tuesday evening, where daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte took his place. 

Panelo said doctors suggested that Duterte’s back pains were “aggravated” by his motorcycle mishap last week.

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, the oldest to become Philippine president, earlier this month admitted to having myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes "weakness in the skeletal muscles, which are responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body, including the arms and legs," according to the US National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.

He also has Buerger's Disease, a cause of blockages in the blood vessels, associated with smoking during his youth.