‘Absolutely false,’ Palace says of post claiming that PRRD was ‘unceremoniously ignored’

Published October 24, 2019, 3:33 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang debunked a viral social media post which said that President Duterte faked his illness because he was “unceremoniously ignored” during the enthronement ceremony of new Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a very short statement contrary to his usual lengthy ones, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo denied that Duterte was snubbed in Tokyo.

“Absolutely false,” he said Thursday.

A Facebook post of a certain Ding Velasco claimed that Duterte’s “unbearable pelvic pain” was not caused by his recent motorcycle fall but was just a “ruse concocted” to gain sympathy for a supposedly ailing President and not to be “publicly assailed for having been unceremoniously ignored in Japan; though not a fault of Japan.”

Velasco pointed out that in several videos taken during the wake of the late Senator Nene Pimentel, Duterte had no walking cane unlike how he was seen in Tokyo.

“He mingled unassisted. He functioned on his own, there wasn’t ‘visible wincing or difficulty,'” he said.

The said Facebook post also claimed that Duterte was seated with other ambassadors during the ceremony because the Japanese Enthronement Committee had to reduce the Philippine delegation to just the ambassador because the President declined the formal invitation sent in August this year.

“Such an official reply from Manila means the Philippine Delegation to the Enthronement Rites would be reduced to our Philippine Ambassador and was therefore relegated down the line,” Velasco claimed.

“The seating protocol allotted to the Philippines was for an Ambassador, not a Head of State and when upon arriving in Japan – Duterte was notified of this (to seat at the back with Ambassadors) – they tried to ask the Enthronement Committee to re-arrange the seating protocol – and their request was denied, because it would create a ‘domino effect’ in the seating protocol of hundreds of Heads of State who already had their seating numbers based on protocol,” he said.

Velasco also alleged that no high-ranking official from Japan’s Foreign Ministry greeted Duterte when he arrived in Tokyo. He said this was probably when the President and his entourage realized that Duterte’s last minute decision had consequences.

“Duterte’s last minute decision to attend had dire consequences: nobody crashes the ceremony of a Japanese Emperor being enthroned to change seating protocol because such rituals and arrangements are planned much in advance by the meticulous Japanese,” he said.

“And when Duterte found out that he would not only seat in the back but would not be announced among the protocol line of Heads of State; they decided he would be humiliated – thus the invention of ‘unbearable pain’ as the reason for leaving Tokyo at the exact moment the new Japanese Emperor was being crowned,” he added.

It was announced Tuesday that Duterte would be cutting short his trip to Tokyo because of ‘unbearable pain’ caused by the motorcycle incident he encountered last week.

The Palace then confirmed Thursday morning that Duterte saw a doctor who advised him to rest for a few days and limit his physical activities.