Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suffered bruises and other injuries but is safe after falling from a motorcycle, his aide said Thursday.
The accident occurred Wednesday night when Duterte, an experienced motorcyclist, drove around the compound of the Presidential Security Group at the presidential palace, according to spokesman Salvador Panelo.
“The palace assures that there is nothing to worry about regarding the president’s condition. While it is true that the president roamed around with his motorcycle, the incident occurred when he already parked his motorcycle at the compound,” Panelo said in a statement.
“The president was reaching for his shoe when he fell off his motorcycle, resulting in a minor injury, particularly light bruises and slight scratches to his elbow and knee,” Panelo said.
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Bong Go, who previously served as the president’s chief aide, said Duterte, 74, had returned from a wake and decided to go for a ride.
“He said it had been a long time since he was able to ride a motorcycle,” Go said, adding Duterte’s security aides “would not allow him to do so outside, so he went for a ride inside” the palace compound.
Go said Duterte tried two motorcycles, but was “having a bit of trouble” on the bigger one.
“He made a turn and as he was coming back, he suddenly fell off. He used his elbow for support. He also felt pain in his hips,” Go said.
Duterte was at the official residence on Thursday recuperating from his wounds, Panelo said.
The state of the president’s health has become an issue in the Philippines as unannounced absences have fueled concerns.
Duterte admitted he underwent a colonoscopy and an endoscopy last year and said he suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease. He also said he has Buerger’s disease, which leads to a constriction of blood vessels in his extremities.
Earlier this month, Duterte announced he has myasthenia gravis affecting muscles that control his eyelids and facial expression and could cause difficulty swallowing and breathing.