MANILA - Some world leaders who gathered in Japan for the enthronement of its new emperor, extended their well wishes to President Rodrigo Duterte, who had to leave Tokyo earlier due to “unbearable” back pain, Malacañang said Friday.
Leaders such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, newly-enthroned Emperor Naruhito, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi relayed their concern for the Philippine leader to his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday night.
Duterte-Carpio, who was supposed to accompany Duterte at the enthronement ceremonies, ended up representing the Philippines in Naruhito’s and Abe’s respective state banquets, where she got the chance to rub elbows with over 180 state leaders and envoys.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Japanese prime minister hopes that the Philippine leader “will get better soon” while Suu Kyi said the President “must be reminded that he is no longer a young lad and must avoid activities such as riding big motorbikes.”
“The same best of health wishes were extended by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, as well as Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko,” Panelo said.
Prayut, on the other hand, asked whether President Duterte could still attend the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok next week. Panelo confirmed Friday Duterte’s attendance at the gathering in Thailand.
Malacañang had downplayed Duterte’s back pain, saying doctors simply advised the President to rest and take pain relievers for muscle spasms, which supposedly caused the pain.
Doctors, according to the Palace, suggested that Duterte’s back pains were “aggravated” by his motorcycle mishap last week.
Panelo on Friday said President Duterte is resting in his hometown Davao City and would return for work on Monday.
Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs also denied Thursday rumors that Duterte cut short his visit to Japan this week because he was snubbed during Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the Chrysanthemum throne.
A certain Ding Velasco had claimed on social media that Duterte's back pain was a "ruse" to cut his 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.