MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fell off his parked motorcycle on the palace grounds, suffering bruises and scratches, but the minor injuries won’t affect his schedule, his spokesman said Thursday.
“While it is true that the president roamed around with his motorcycle,” he fell after he had already parked it Wednesday night, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. Duterte was reaching for his shoe when he fell and had “light bruises and slight scratches to his elbow and knee,” he said.
The president was resting Thursday and his recovery will not require any “major medical procedure,” Panelo said.
Other officials, however, gave what seemed to be conflicting accounts of the accident. Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, a former longtime aide of Duterte, said the president was driving his motorcycle when it skidded and he fell. As a result, the president was feeling some pain in the hip but Go said he was fine.
Brig. Gen. Jose Niembra, who is in charge of forces securing the president, told reporters without elaborating that Duterte did not fall from the motorcycle during the accident.
The 74-year-old president is an avid rider of big motorcycles like Harley Davidsons and has said he once had a serious crash during a long-distance run and could still feel those injuries.
A lack of regular medical bulletins on the president’s health sparks sporadic speculation about the state of his health, especially when he has failed to appear in public for days.
When Duterte did not show up in public for more than a week in August, Panelo explained that the president was busy reviewing documents he needed to sign and stressed he was healthy because he managed to bike around in his hometown in southern Davao City.
“He got enthusiastic and rode out of the village enclave on a motorcycle, alarming the Presidential Security Group,” Panelo told reporters then.