MALACANANG yesterday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte was “unceremoniously ignored” when he attended the enthronement rites of Japan’s 126th emperor in Tokyo early this week.
“Absolutely false,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a text message when sought for his comment on the information circulating on social media. He did not elaborate.
Panelo’s denial came after the Department of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement belying the claim of a certain Ding Velasco, who said that the decision to cut short Duterte’s Japan trip was not because of the “unbearable pain in his spinal column” but was for another reason.
On Tuesday, October 22, Malacañang announced that Duterte would shorten his trip because of an “unbearable pain in his spinal column” suspected to be from the motorbike accident that the President suffered a few days before.
But Velasco had another version. He claimed Duterte had no “unbearable pelvic pain” and it was “just a ruse they concocted in order ‘to gain sympathy for an ailing President doing his duty even in grave physical pain’ & not to be publicly assailed for having been unceremoniously ignored in Japan.”
According to Velasco, Duterte was “relegated down the line” in the seating arrangement during Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement because of the last-minute confirmation of his attendance at the historic event.