VIENTIANE, Laos -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte skipped summit meetings Thursday, September 8, of Southeast Asian leaders with their US and Indian counterparts in Laos due to migraine, an official said.
Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said the throbbing headache would have made it difficult for Duterte to concentrate amid the overwhelming barrage of summitry.
Andanar was unaware if Duterte’s absence in the meetings had anything to do with a reported miscarriage suffered by his daughter, the mayor of their southern Philippine city of Davao.
Duterte has been in the news because of intemperate remarks he made about President Barack Obama ahead of the summit.
Duterte later walked into the venue of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) summit meetings in Vientiane, about four hours late but just in time to catch the start of the East Asia Summit, which groups the leaders of the 10-nation Asean and eight other heads of state, including President Barack Obama.
Duterte missed a scheduled one-on-one with Obama, who postponed the meeting after the brash Philippine leader called him a “son of a bitch” in a pre-departure speech and threatened to swear at him if the US leader raised concerns over Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.
Obama and Duterte shook hands and briefly chatted at a holding room Wednesday night, September 7, before a gala dinner.
One of Duterte’s Cabinet members, Jesus Dureza, said he asked the Philippine President about his discussion with Obama.
“It was ok,” Dureza quoted Duterte as saying. “He told me, ‘We can talk some more at another time.’” (AP)