President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘unbearable’ back pain was because of ‘muscle spasms’ and not of any serious problem in his spine, according to his longtime aide Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday. 

Earlier, the President was reported to have experienced pain in his spinal column near the pelvic area, which he started complaining after his motorcycle accident,  allowing him to cut short his visit in Japan. Despite that, he went straight to visit the wake of ex Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. with Go on Tuesday. 

Afterwards, Duterte consulted a neurosurgeon and underwent through a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination to identify what was causing his back pain. 

“He’s OK. No need to worry. He just experienced muscle spasms,” said Go in an interview. 

“We immediately consulted his neurosurgeon and doctors. He had an MRI. There was nothing to be worried about. The doctors said it was purely muscle spasms,” he continued. 

Echoing the statement of Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, Go said that the President would inform the public regarding his health condition. 

“We were actually worried that his spine was affected. But thank God it was not serious. The doctors wanted to see if it was a trapped nerve that caused the pain, but it was not,” he said. 

However, the new senator said that Duterte has to take ‘pain relievers’ and the doctors advised him to rest. 

Speculations on Duterte’s health condition

Since 2016, during his race for the country’s highest post, a lot has been speculating Duterte’s real health condition. 

The President previously revealed he had Buerger’s disease and Barrett’s esophagus he acquired from drinking and smoking. Other than those, he also admitted that he has been experiencing migraines and a spine injury also following a motorcycle accident years ago. And in 2018, Duterte said he was tested negative for cancer. 

However, his disappearance from the public’s eye, which didn’t only last for a day but more, has created talks regarding his health. 

Being on Duterte’s side since he was the Davao City Mayor, Go usually shared photos of the President resting in his house as proof-of-life images. 

His health condition also became a major subject of speculation after he was spotted wearing a “personal air purifier” last week when President Ram Nath Kovind of India visited in Malacañang. 

According to Panelo, the necklace-like apparatus was designed to Duterte from “persons within his proximity who have coughs and colds.”

President Rodrigo Duterte (right) wore “personal air purifier’ in his meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind of India on Oct. 16. (Image source:

Duterte allies advises him to be more careful 

His allies even advised him to be more careful with regards to his daily activities and to avoid exhausting his body. 

“My appeal to him as a fellow Mindanaoan and … as the leader of the country… is to restrain himself from such dangerous activities so that he can complete his term for the good of the country,”  said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri. 

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the back pain would not threaten the life of the President, as his wife, Helen, also underwent operation for the same condition. 

“If the President has something like that, it’s treatable. I don’t see any problem with that,” Sotto said.

While leader of the Senate had been straightforward about Duterte’s health condition, official medical bulletin from the doctors would be “more accurate.”


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