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Rody sidelined by migraine, spinal woes

“I was supposed (to go) yesterday, but I had this spinal thing going crazy again,”President Duterte said, referring to the wake of a policeman killed in a drug sting. PPD/Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines - A migraine and a spinal problem made President Duterte cancel his scheduled activities on Thursday.

“I was supposed (to go) yesterday, but I had this spinal thing going crazy again,” Duterte said, referring to the wake of a policeman killed in a drug sting.

“I had a migraine… I vomited in the morning so I said I could not make it,” Duterte said during the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City on Friday.

“I had this terrible headache and this is because of something misaligned in my spine (which I got) when I met an accident when I was already 67 years old in a motorcycle spill,” he said.

Duterte was scheduled to visit the wake of PO1 Gary Cabaguing at the St. Peter Funeral Homes in Catbalogan, Samar.

“I usually go to places where there’s a military man or a policeman who dies in the line of duty. That’s all I can give – honor them – my presence, to be there and give them a snappy salute for dying for their country,” he said.

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Duterte was also supposed to look into the condition of PO1 Nestor Villanueva who was confined at the St. Paul’s Hospital in Tacloban, Leyte.

Villanueva was injured in anti-drug operations in Samar.

Duterte lamented that he loses two to three cops or soldiers a day in the government campaign against illegal drugs. 

He learned the news about Cabaguing and Villanueva while he paid tribute to Inspector Mark Gil Garcia, who was also killed in a shootout with two drug suspects last week.

Earlier Friday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte may have wanted to have some personal time when asked why the President cancelled his activities the day before.

Dying for country

Duterte talked about dying for his country out of patriotism as he rallied the military in defending Philippine sovereignty. 

Even though his administration is working to settle territorial issues with China in a peaceful manner, Duterte said the Armed Forces should be prepared to go to war if talks failed.

“When the time comes, I will be there to join you. Lead. Mas marunong kayo sa akin (You know better than me). But I’ll be with you in defending this republic,” he said.

He mulled the possibility of his demise, but indicated that he prefers dying with honor and courage.

The President said he has discussed the need to prepare the military for any war with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and former president and special envoy to China Fidel Ramos.

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