MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte got slightly hurt while taking a motorcycle ride inside the Malacañang complex on Wednesday night, October 16.
Senator Bong Go, his close aide, told reporters on Thursday, October 17, that the accident happened in the Presidential Security Group (PSG) compound inside the complex.
“Duterte, sumemplang kagabi habang nagmo-motor palabas ng PSG compound (Duterte had an accident last night as he was exiting the PSG compound),” said Go in a message.
"Medyo masakit ang balakang (His hip is a little sore)," the senator added.
PSG chief Jose Niembra initially clarified that Duterte did not fall off from the motorcycle. After Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued a later statement that Duterte fell off his bike, the PSG chief explained that the President actually figured in two motorcycle mishaps – both minor – on Wednesday night.
The first supposedly involved a 3-wheeled motorbike which hit a rock as Duterte was taking it out of the PSG compound garage. The motorcycle was going slow when it hit the rock, said Niembra, so the President just went off-balance but did not fall off.
He then rode a regular two-wheeled motorcycle around the compound. As he was parking, one of his shoes got left behind on the ground. When we bent down to pick it up, he again went off-balance but this time, fell off.
Panelo said the same thing during the Thursday press briefing. He said he was told these details by Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña.
Duterte was taking the vehicle for a spin at the end of a busy day which included a switch-on celebration of an electric company in Taguig City and courtesy calls of medal-winning Filipino athletes.
'Nothing to worry about'
Go said Duterte was resting in his official residence, Bahay Pagbabago, which is also in the PSG compound.
Duterte’s motorcycle mishap happened on the same night a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Cotabato, affecting various parts of Mindanao, including the President’s hometown of Davao City.
Malacañang said in a statement on Thursday that the President only had a "minor injury."
"The Palace assures that there is nothing to worry about regarding the President's condition following news that he figured in a motorcycle accident last night, October 16," said Panelo.
He added that the incident happened "when he has already parked his motorcycle at the compound of the Presidential Security Group."
"The President was reaching for his shoe when he fell off his motorcycle that resulted in a minor injury, particularly light bruises and slight scratches, to his elbow and knee," the spokesman said.
"We assure our people that the President is fine, and his recovery entails no major medical procedure," he added.
The President is scheduled to meet with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday afternoon, October 18. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.