Duterte back in PH, visits Nene Pimentel’s wake
By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday paid his last respects to his friend and political ally, former Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who succumbed to lymphoma on October 20.
Duterte headed straight to Pimentel’s wake at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City, shortly after he arrived in Manila around 10:33 p.m, Tuesday, from his shortened Japan trip, said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.
“Notwithstanding his trip to Japan being cut short due to a searing pain in the spinal pelvic area of his body, the President was able to endure the same and headed from Villamor Air Base in Pasay City to the wake of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr.,” Panelo said.
Ronald Munsayac, spokesperson of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), shared photos of the President visiting the wake of Pimentel.
The late Senate leader’s son, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, also went live on Facebook to document the President’s arrival in the wake.
Panelo said the President considers the late Senate President as a personal friend, who contributed “valuable service to the country as a public servant”.
Pimentel is one of the founders of PDP-Laban, whose current president and chairman are his son and President Duterte, respectively.
Pimentel’s remains will be brought to the Senate’s session hall in Pasay City on Wednesday morning for necrological rites.
His remains will be flown to Cagayan de Oro City until Friday and will be returned on Saturday to the Heritage Memorial Park, where he will be laid to rest.
Pimentel served as Senate President from November 2000 to July 2001, and was also a member of the now defunct Consultative Committee tasked by Duterte to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the proposed shift to a federal government.
Duterte’s wake visit shows he’s ‘okay’
Duterte had to cut short his supposedly four-day stay in Japan due to “unbearable” lower back pain.
Duterte immediately flew back to the Philippines after witnessing Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement rites at Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon.
Hours prior to his return to the country, Duterte admitted that the back pain he had sustained in a minor motorcycle accident on Oct. 16 was intolerable.
Duterte made the admission in a Facebook live shared by his former special aide and now Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Tuesday night.
Addressing the nation, the 74-year-old President said: “Lahat ng mga nagmo-motor, sume-semplang, kagaya sa akin. Ang ano lang, parang hindi ko matiis. ‘Yung sa belt banda, mga three inches, medyo masakit (It’s normal for all motorists like me to figure in an accident. But in my case, the pain, which I feel three inches from where I wear my belt, is intolerable. It hurts a little.)
But Duterte’s visit to Pimentel’s wake only proves that he is “okay,” Panelo stressed in an interview with CNN Philippines on Wednesday morning.
“He (Duterte) was able to go to the wake of the late senator Pimentel. He’s okay,” Panelo said.
The Palace official, in a separate statement, also insisted that the public should not worry, since the President would consult his neurologist on Wednesday.
He added that the 74-year-old Chief Executive would keep everyone posted about the real status of his health.
“The public need not be apprehensive about the President’s health. His consultation with a doctor is aimed at determining the medical condition of his body, as well as finding out whether his previous spinal injury from a past motorcycle accident has been aggravated by his recent fall,” he said.
“The President shall inform our countrymen on the result of his medical consultation,” he added.
Article 7, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution mandates the President to inform the public of the state of his health, “in case of serious illness.”
Back pain won’t affect Duterte’s schedule
Duterte suffered from a back pain and acquired light bruises and slight scratches in a motorcycle accident at the Presidential Security Group Compound’s garage in Manila on Oct. 16.
The President had refused to seek immediate treatment after the motorcycle mishap, since he initially thought the injury was bearable, Panelo said.
“Perhaps, he did not feel it necessary at that time. It could be that he was not feeling the kind of pain he has [been feeling right now],” he said.
Duterte’s admission of enduring an “excruciating” back pain would not have a negative impact on his work performance, Panelo assured the public.
Panelo said there would be no changes in the President’s punishing schedule unless his attending doctor advises him to take some rest.
“As far as I know, there is none. Unless his doctor would tell him to make some changes in his schedule,” he added. (PNA)