Back ailment may force Duterte to reduce workload

Published November 6, 2019, 7:25 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte may reduce his workload instead of taking a leave of absence following his recent back ailment, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the remark after revealing that some Southeast Asian leaders noticed the President appeared “overworked’ during a recent regional summit in Thailand.

“It’s up to the President. But if you will ask me, he really needs to rest,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.

“Most likely he will lessen [his] volume of work para hindi siya masyadong pressured [so he will not be pressured]” he said, when asked if the President will take a leave of absence from work.

Panelo also disclosed that regional leaders commented about the President’s health during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings over the weekend.

There were some comments from the leaders. “Your President looks overworked. Don’t let him work too much,'” he said.

He said the ASEAN leaders were assured that Duterte was “working very hard at the same time he had an accident so that contributed to what you’re seeing now.”

Duterte, who is nursing some back pain, recently visited Thailand to attend the regional summit from November 1 to 4. He skipped the last two events of the summit to catch an early flight back home.

Senator Christoper Go earlier said the President may take a weeklong break after his Thailand trip. The President’s long-time aide said Duterte may stay in his home city of Davao but will still work from there.

Duterte has recently been diagnosed with muscle spasm after complaining of unbearable pain in his spinal column believed to be caused by his recent motorcycle fall. His back pain recently forced him to cut short his visit to Japan.