President Rodrigo Duterte is not dying, his spokesman said Friday, even as House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is among those who think the Chief Executive can still function normally despite a “growth” found in his digestive tract.
Duterte not dying—Palace
Roque said he will suggest to the President to issue a medical bulletin to put to rest speculation about his health.
Asked if the President was on the brink of death, spokesman Harry Roque said: “I don’t think so. That’s why I showed a video of the President yesterday to show that he is healthy.”
“But he also said yesterday, name a 73-year-old who does not have an illness. So, if he really has an illness, he thinks it’s not out of the ordinary,” Roque added.
Arroyo, a key ally of Duterte, vouched for the President’s ability to execute his duties, citing her own experiences.
“I’m also going through treatment, right? But even I can go through a six o’clock adjournment [in Congress],” the 71-year-old Arroyo said. “So it can be done.”
Reporters sought the opinion of the former President and Pampanga lawmaker on Duterte seeking medical treatment for an admitted “bad case” of Barrett’s esophagus, which could lead to cancer.
READ: Cancer risk in Barrett’s disease
As Manila Standard reported Friday, the President revealed he is awaiting the results of fresh medical tests at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City—adding that “if it’s cancer, it’s cancer.”
Duterte, 73, is the oldest person ever to be elected president in the country, and speculation about his health has cropped up regularly since he took power in 2016.
Arroyo, meanwhile, had been diagnosed with degenerative bone disease, among other ailments, and wore a neck brace for a while. She was under hospital arrest for a plunder charge for nearly four years starting in 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Roque, who said he did not know about the tests until later, said the President underwent an endoscopy to learn more about a growth in his digestive tract.
“Right now, we don’t know [if it’s serious] because he went for a diagnostic exam,” he said.
Roque said he will suggest to the President to issue a medical bulletin to put to rest speculation about his health.
“He is still entitled to privacy in this matter. I do not know. If I am still here next week then I will tell him perhaps we need to issue a medical bulletin whether or not it’s serious,” said Roque, who also admitted that he was considering resigning (See separate story—Editors).
“I assure you, as a lawyer, he knows what the Constitution says. If it’s a serious illness, he will inform the nation,” Roque said.
In a speech late Thursday, the President said he underwent an endoscopy and colonoscopy about three weeks ago but that he was advised this week to repeat the tests—and so he went to Cardinal Santos on Wednesday, apparently without the knowledge of Presidential Spokesman Roque.
READ: Duterte: I've undergone colonoscopy
“I don’t know where I’m at now physically, I have to wait for that. But I would tell you that if it’s cancer, it’s cancer,” he said.
“And if it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere,” he added.
Speculation began after Duterte missed a Wednesday Cabinet meeting and another public event.
Duterte keeps up a punishing schedule of appearances ranging from shopping mall openings to police funerals, and frequently delivers multiple, lengthy speeches per day.
The government had denied the leader was having health problems, with spokesman Harry Roque saying the president “just took his day off.”
“I assure you that I have no information that he went to a hospital,” Roque added.
However, in Duterte’s Thursday speech he said: “There was supposed to be a Cabinet meeting, that was yesterday, but... Somebody advised my doctor just to repeat and get some [medical] samples.”
Duterte has said previously that he suffers from daily migraines and ailments including Buerger’s disease, an illness that affects the veins and the arteries of the limbs, and is usually due to smoking.
He has cited his ill health as the reason for skipping events during summits abroad.
The President, known for his deadly crackdown on drugs, also revealed in 2016 that he used to take fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, because of a spinal injury from previous motorcycle accidents.
Section 12 of Article 7 of the Constitution says if the President is seriously ill, the public will be informed about the state of his health.
“The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.” With AFP
READ: Rody in hospital ‘for 2nd click here opinion’
READ: Pray for Rody's health—Bishops
Three Duterte kids also in the mix in Davao City
posted October 18, 2018 at 01:15 am by Manila Standard
All of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children, except his youngest daughter, will seek elective posts in next year’s midterm polls.
Duterte’s youngest son, Sebastian, on Wednesday, filed his certificate of candidacy for vice mayor, marking his first time to enter politics.
He will serve as the running mate of her elder sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who declined offers for her to run for senator and will instead seek reelection after establishing the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago earlier this year.
The President’s eldest son, former vice mayor Paolo Duterte, will run as the city’s First District representative.
Duterte-Carpio, for her part, shrugged off criticisms that her family is building a political dynasty.
“We really cannot deny that, especially if our detractors and those in the opposition will make such claims. I don’t want to engage them. This is not something that is happening exclusively to Davao. When you are a family of doctors and your children become doctors, too—it’s the same thing,” she said.
Palace shrugs off Du30 claim that Sara led Alvarez ouster
posted October 19, 2018 at 11:40 pm by Nathaniel Mariano
The Palace on Friday downplayed President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio “initiated” the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said even if Duterte-Carpio initiated the ouster, the fate of Alvarez’s speakership were decided by the members of the House of Representatives.
“Ultimately whoever suggested the ouster, the members of Congress shall still decide. Those who voted [for Alvarez’s ouster] said they were discontented with the way it is being run,” Panelo said in a radio interview.
“It’s the House of Representatives that decided regardless of whoever initiated it,” Panelo added.
He said even with the influence of the President, members of the House of Representatives still had the final say on whether to oust or let Alvarez remain based on his performance as a speaker.
He said that lawmakers appeared to be dissatisfied with how Alvarez ran Congress.
“Rightly or wrongly, that’s the perception of those who voted against him. But as far as the administration is concerned, Speaker Alvarez did all things in favor of the administration. The bills which have been certified as urgent, he passed it through,” Panelo said, recognizing how Alvarez shepherded bills that were important to the administration.
On Thursday, Duterte admitted it was his equally fierce daughter who worked in the shadows to oust Alvarez.
“Be careful with that woman. She can even oust a Speaker. She operated in Davao. Look what happened in Congress,” the President said in a speech during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
This was the first time Duterte confirmed that his daughter played a role in unseating Alvarez as Speaker.
Alvarez was ousted as Speaker as Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July. He was replaced with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte said he only learned of his daughter’s political maneuver through Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
He said that his daughter admitted her role in the ouster as when she bumped into Puyat at the restroom of the Batasang Pambansa during the third State of the Nation Address.
“She was told by Inday. They saw each other in the washroom. ‘Tell my father, I’m sorry.’ So, I did not know the implication of that. I have no [idea]... honest to God. It was Inday, she maneuvered it,” Duterte said, referring to his daughter by her nickname.
In February, Duterte-Carpio called Alvarez an “insecure fat sleaze” for allegedly linking her to the opposition after the Davao City Mayor formed a separate regional political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Alvarez had since denied the allegation.
Duterte-Carpio is seeking reelection as Davao City mayor, while Alvarez also wants to stay in Congress in here the 2019 midterm polls.
‘Mocha isn’t off the hook just yet’
READ: Three tales of ‘endo’ in government service: Bowed out
Ombudsman Samuel Martires said Uson’s resignation had nothing to do with the ongoing probe of the complaints filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Akbayan Youth and the Philippine Federation of the Death.
On Sept. 28—the day Uson resigned—Martires said the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office sent a letter ordering her and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar to file their own comment within 10 days on the complaint filed by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf.
The letter, signed by Asst. Ombudsman Joselito Fangon told Uson to submit within 10 days a written explanation or comment on a complaint filed by four complainants over a video she posted on her Facebook page that mocked people with disabilities.
Uson also faces complaints about an earlier video in which her sidekick, blogger Drew Olivar, danced while pointing to his crotch and breasts as mnemonic devices for federalism.
Although Uson may no longer be suspended or dismissed, she could be disqualified from public office, effectively stopping her from running in the next elections.
Uson on Thursday shot back at Vice President Leni Robredo, whose spokesman had said her resignation would not spare her from liability for her lies and scandals.
Talking to UNTV, Uson said it was the vice president who was full of lies, and that even her position was a big lie—a reference to the election protest filed against her by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Assistant Secretary for Communications Margaux “Mocha” Uson has been the fair-haired girl of the Duterte administration—much to its detriment.
The former sexy dancer turned blogger had actively campaigned for Mr. Duterte in 2016 and was rewarded with a high-paying job at the Presidential Communications Operation Office.
Since her appointment, Uson has committed a series of gaffes, and in all of these blunders, she had defended herself haughtily, arrogantly. Ironically she and her legion of defenders dismiss her critics as purveyors of fake news or out to bring down their revered “Tatay Digong.”
It has escaped us for long why the Palace has continued to stand behind Uson despite her misadventures. Our best guess was that her millions of followers gave her enough clout to do as she pleased in the name of spreading the word. Proof of her good standing at the Palace is the decision to tap her services in the information campaign for the proposed federal form of government.
This weekend, however, Uson crossed the line.
In a video posted on her Facebook blog Sunday, Uson, along with companion Andrew Olivar, attempted a federalism tutorial complete with an obscene song-and-dance number, a simplistic analogy and a script of dubitable accuracy read aloud like a high school class report.
If Uson succeeded in anything, it is in insulting the hard work of the consultative commission that proposed a draft constitution that, if approved, would govern the transition to the federal form.
It is in denigrating the sober matter of governance and trivializing hopes that a new structure of government would improve the lives of millions of Filipinos.
Uson successfully turned people against federalism, not because people were able to weigh its foreseen benefits against the costs, but because it is now associated a lewd Tagalog equivalent and equally lewd dance moves.
She easily made the Duterte administration, which she is supposed to speak for and represent, look stupid, irreverent and laughable.
With any luck, her latest stunt should convince the President that he has risked enough in having her on board—and getting the rest of us to foot her insanely high commanding price.
What would be the most vulgar of all is if Uson gets to keep more info her cushy job and continue to enjoy her perks despite the near-universal outrage at her acts.
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The cure for fake news
posted June 27, 2017 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles
When I’m asked what the cure for fake news is, I always say: You already have it between your ears.
I don’t understand why some people are railing about fake news the way they are doing now. Because if they really wanted to do something about the problem, they should know that passing a law penalizing its spread (like a senator has proposed) or identifying alleged purveyors of fakery in the hopes of scaring people to avoid them (like the Catholic bishops have done) is really not going to do it.
But let’s examine these proposals one by one. Let’s start with Senator Joel Villanueva’s call for the passage of a law that will criminalize the act of spreading reports that are not true.
Villanueva last week filed a bill seeking to punish the malicious creation or spreading of fake news. Villanueva’s proposal will penalize violators with jail time of up to three years and a fine of up to P3 million and doubles the penalty if the perpetrator is a public official.
My first problem with Villanueva’s plan is that there are already laws that penalize the malicious spread of fake news, including online. These are the current (though much-criticized) laws on libel and slander, including the cybercrime version that takes care of online violations.
Why come up with a new law just because spreading fake reports is in vogue again? And, pray tell, how is the new law going to succeed in proving what the existing ones have always had a problem with—the presence of malice?
Indeed, Villanueva seems to have copied the concept of malice from existing laws on legally actionable defamation, which makes the person or entity (in the case of media entities) liable for spreading fake news reports or malicious reporting. But this, to me, means that Villanueva is also quite aware that unless reputations are unfairly—and maliciously —ruined, he could be going against the constitutional protection of free speech, expression and publication.
In the words of the 1987 Constitution: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances.” And if malice cannot be established, then any law that abridges that freedom cannot stand.
* * *
As for Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who also holds the click here position of president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, his situation is, well, a little more problematic. And not only because he and the his fellow bishops declared that spreading fake news is actually a “sin.”
Villegas’ declaration coincided with the release of a CBCP pastoral letter which condemned fake news as sinful. The online-only news website Rappler reported that the CBCP drew up last January a list of web pages and social media microblogs that were included in the new CBCP “Index” and gleefully released a “partial list” of these that were, by no small coincidence, were supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
(Apparently, fake news is only proffered by Duterte supporters, which is certainly a piece of fakery, as well. But that’s something for another column altogether.)
The Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or List of Prohibited Books, was drawn up by the Catholic Church beginning in the 9th Century to identify publications unsuitable for the faithful, according to their clerics. Why the CBCP wants us to go back to not reading stuff on the say-so of priests—a practice finally discontinued in 1966, with the advent of the reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council—is a mystery to me.
But what’s really puzzling is that Villegas has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the list reported by Rappler. Villegas has not even said if the “partial” list is accurate.
The Rappler list has earned the ire of a lot of people who consider it another instance of the Church encroaching on something that is not really its concern, quite naturally. Is Rappler using Villegas and the CBCP to foist yet another piece of fake news upon its readers?
The bishops aren’t saying. Which is amazing because they are in a perfect position to cite the Rappler story as fake news or not, as the case may be.
Finally, to get back to my own prescription to combat fake news without resorting to legal measures or Church-dictated lists, it’s this: Use your own coconut.
My favorite analogy about news is that of an old-fashioned wet market. You go to a market to check out what’s for sale, but you buy only what you really need and want.
The size of the store, the declarations of the vendors as to the virtues of their offerings and the price you pay is really something for you to factor in, if you want. Caveat emptor, as they also used to say.
But you will not really get what you want (the truth, in this case) if you don’t check out everything and use your previous experience with the vendors and their products as a guide. You can even produce your own food and do away with going to the market altogether, or become a market vendor yourself.
But what people need is to learn how to discern, which requires education instead of the threat of jail terms, fines and even eternal damnation. And teaching requires brains, as well.