President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan as doctors gave him pain killers for “muscle spasms” and advised him to rest until the weekend, his long-time aide Senator Christopher Go said.
This came after the 74-year-old leader complained of an “unbearable pain” in his spine while he was in Japan for the enthronement rites of Emperor Naruhito, prompting him to return to the country on Tuesday ahead of the schedule.
READ: Rody in pain, cuts short Tokyo trip
Malacañang photos showed the President holding onto a cane while he was in Tokyo for the enthronement rites.
Go and President Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, assured the public that there is nothing to worry about, and that the Chief Executive will meet China’s Vice Premier Hu Chunhua tomorrow.
Go said they were worried at first that the President’s spine might be damaged, but the doctors said it was just muscle spasms.
The President figured in a motorcycle mishap last week
within the Malacañang compound. The Palace attributed his pain to the accident.
READ: Rody’s hip hurting after motorbike crash
Due to his early departure from Japan, Duterte missed the Emperor’s banquet and the prime minister’s banquet. His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, represented him in both events.
Upon his arrival in Manila late Tuesday evening, Duterte visited the wake of former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig.
Political analysts said the Palace should be more transparent about the President’s health and his medical records.
“Keeping people in the dark about actual health condition of the President leads to more speculation, uncertainty, and intrigue. It is best to be honest about the situation,” said Maria Ela Atienza, political science department chairman of the University of the Philippines Diliman.
Duterte’s sudden absences in important events will also be interpreted in a negative light, she said.
Michael Yusingco, senior research fellow of the Ateneo School of Government, added: “Being constantly absent from the public eye may cause the people to simply lose faith in his ability to deliver on his promises.”
In August, the President was absent in the National Heroes’ Day celebration that he was supposed to lead at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because he was not feeling well.
Duterte also skipped the change of command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in September due to fever, the first time that a commander-in-chief missed the changing of guard rites in recent history.
There were also instances when Duterte was absent in the public eye for an entire week.
This month, he revealed he has a rare neuromuscular disease called myasthenia gravis, characterized by weakness in the muscles that control eye and eyelid movement and facial expression.
In his previous speeches, the President said he also suffered from migraines, nausea, spinal injury, Buerger’s disease, and Barrett’s esophagus.
“The President is sick and in severe pain, and it obligates the administration to issue regular updates on the status of his health and well-being,” Yusingco said.
Atienza and Yusingco also said that voters should also consider the age and health of a presidential candidate, aside from his character and platforms.