Duterte takes leave for Manila tests, treatment

Duterte earlier announced he would go on leave of absence to undergo a major surgery but he said it would be only after his inauguration on June 30.

He told reporters Friday that he has been experiencing pain in his upper spinal column resulting from a motorcycle accident many years ago. He said this was aggravated in a latest accident near the Bangkerohan public market.

Duterte said the pain was bearable when he was younger "but recently, I am having a hard time moving around," he said.

His aides said he needed a "major orthopedic operation."

City administrator Wendell Avisado said the mayor chose the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital in Quezon City for medical examinations and possible treatment.

He said medical bulletins would be released as they come. Avisado said they were confident Duterte would make it to his inauguration.

Vice Mayor Luis Bonguyan will be the acting mayor from June 8 to 22, the period of Duterte's absence.

Incidentally, Duterte will report to office on June 23, the day the city government would implement its ordinance banning aerial spraying. The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) has contested the ordinance before the Regional Trial Court here and has filed for a temporary injunction.

Duterte’s announcement to take a leave caused a stir, viewed by critics as a scheme to usher his daughter, Vice Mayor-elect Sara Duterte, as chief executive. The mayor has denied this saying he would finish his last three-year term.

A source from Duterte’s Hugpong Party said this week that First District Rep. and House Majority Floor leader Prospero Nograles would likely slug it out with the younger Duterte in 2010 for mayor with Duterte possibly running against Nograles' son lawyer Karlo for Congress.