Duterte feeling ‘OK’ after SONA stumble; drops by restaurant, not hospital, before going home

Published July 27, 2021, 8:16 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

There is nothing to worry about President Duterte’s health after enduring a minor stumble in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 26.

President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Batasan session hall to deliver his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, 2021. (Malacañang)

The President explained that he was feeling “okay” as he dispelled rumors that he was rushed to a hospital after delivering his sixth SONA at Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Contrary to his rumored hospitalization, Duterte and his party actually dropped by a Chinese restaurant in San Juan City to grab some dinner after the SONA.

Earlier, the President was seen momentarily losing his balance while walking inside the Batasan plenary hall for his final address to the nation.

“Wala po sa awa ng Diyos. Hinatid ako kanina ng helicopter. Kaya lang maulan kaya hindi na magamit, nag-by land ako tapos nag-segue ako dito sa Emperor restaurant para kumain (I’m not (in a hospital) with the Lord’s mercy. I was brought by a helicopter [to Batasan] but since it was raining, the helicopter was no longer used. I had to travel by land. I passed by Emperor restaurant to eat),” the President said in a video call to DZBB Monday night when asked about his rumored hospitalization at Medical City.

Duterte also allayed any concern about his health when asked about his minor stumble as he walked inside the Batasan session hall Monday. He had a slight misstep after bowing to the audience inside the session hall. Two security aides rushed to the President’s side but Duterte was able to recover his balance and proceeded walking.

“Kasi may tatapak sa paa ko (Because something caught my foot),” the 76-year-old president said when asked about losing his balance on his way to the SONA rostrum.

His former aide and now Senator Christopher Go chimed in and clarified: “May nakaapak sa paa niya (Someone stepped on his foot).”

Duterte then said: “‘Yung paa ko tinapakan kaya masakit, ginaganoon ko. Pero okay ako, nakalakad ako mabuti. Wala pa naman akong cane. Eh kung walking stick na ako, kaya siguro pero okay lang ako dito (My foot was stepped on so it was a painful so I stumbled. But I’m okay. I was able to walk. I don’t use a cane. If I had a walking stick, it might be. But I am okay here),” he said.

Duterte was accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avanceña, Go, and his security team and other Palace staff during the restaurant visit before going home.

The President earlier delivered his final SONA, which lasted for almost three hours, highlighting his achievements as well as priority plans in the closing stretch of his presidency. His lengthy speech was peppered with adlibs and jokes on various topics including his mortality and need for a toilet break.