‘Bad headache’ sidelines Duterte
VIENTIANE—A “bad headache” kept President Duterte from summit meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) with India and the United States on Thursday.
But the 71-year-old Mr. Duterte was able to attend the Asean-East Asia summit later in the afternoon, marking his first formal meeting with US President Barack Obama and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
“The President had a bad headache. We advised him to take a rest because he will be flying immediately to Indonesia after the Asean summit,” said a Malacañang official, who agreed to talk on condition of anonymity.
When asked if the President had migraine, the official replied: “It’s a bad headache. I don’t want to speculate if it was migraine or what.”
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the President was “not feeling well in the morning,” prompting him to miss the Asean-India and Asean-US summits, two of the related conferences in the three-day Asean summit.
“But he was able to attend the East Asia summit with 18 world leaders and the rest of the day’s remaining schedule until (our) departure for Indonesia,” Dureza told reporters in a text message.
Mr. Duterte, whose debut on the international stage was marred by his expletive-laden remarks against Obama before flying to Laos on Monday, also skipped the Asean leaders’ meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday night.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Mr. Duterte’s absence from the Asean-UN summit was not intentional.
He said the President had to rush to a courtesy call on Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith.
Mr. Duterte described his inaugural Asean summit as “perfect.”
The President answered questions from reporters as he was entering the main hall of the National Convention Center in Vientiane for the closing ceremony of the Asean summit.
Asked about his health, he replied, “Good.”
At the close of the summit, Mr. Duterte accepted the Philippine chairmanship of Asean for 2017. TVJ
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