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 get more info 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 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 duterte 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 the 2019 midterm polls.
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President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the second presidential critic from the Senate to be threatened with detention.
ORDERED ARRESTED. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV gives his statement at the Senate Tuesday where he is holed up—to avoid arrest—following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order which revoked the grant of amnesty, with opposition politicians condemning the order. (Inset) PNP-CIDG personnel wait outside the Senate for Trillanes to appear. Ey Acasio
Trillanes, who is holed up in the Senate to avoid arrest, has also in the past accused Duterte of corruption and his son of involvement in drug dealing, drawing a pledge of revenge from the President.
Opposition politicians immediately condemned the arrest order as political. They compared it with the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima, who is behind bars on drug charges that she says are false.
Trillanes’ arrest order stems from an amnesty granted in 2010 over his involvement in a coup attempt against then-President Gloria Arroyo and another effort to overthrow her.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are ordered to employ all lawful means to apprehend... Trillanes,” said the order printed in the Manila Times.
The government said Duterte has canceled the pardon because Trillanes, a former navy officer, did not complete the requirements of filing an official application and admitting guilt.
Duterte is out of the country on an official visit to Israel.
Trillanes led scores of junior officers in taking over part of the Oakwood Premier in 2003 to protest Arroyo’s alleged corruption and mismanagement.
Duterte also wants Trillanes put on trial for his brief takeover of the Manila Peninsula hotel in 2007 after he and several armed followers seized the hotel and demanded Arroyo’s resignation.
The arrest order came a year after Trillanes had Duterte’s eldest son Paolo brought before a Senate public inquiry to face allegations—which he denied—that he was involved in drug trafficking.
Trillanes also accused the President of hiding unexplained millions in his bank accounts.
Duterte vowed at the time to exact revenge. “I will destroy him or he will destroy me,” he said in a speech.
Operatives from the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group were deployed outside the Senate building, apparently to carry out Duterte’s arrest order.
Duterte signed Proclamation 572 to revoke the senator’s amnesty given by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.
In the proclamation, Duterte said Trillanes did not file an Official Amnesty Application Form as per certification dated Aug. 30, 2018, issued by Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade, stating “there is no copy of his application for amnesty in the records.”
But the Palace defended the move as being “based on law and facts.”
“We are saying he was given amnesty by President Aquino because of politics and the declaration of void ab initio is based on law and on facts,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a press briefing in Israel.
“In the first place, he did not ask for the amnesty. It was given to him on a silver platter by the previous administration. So, when you did not ask for amnesty, you are not entitled to it,” Roque said.
Roque, who read the contents of the Proclamation No. 572, said the grounds for the declaration were Trillanes’ failure to admit his crimes or any involvement with illegal acts and his failure to file an application for amnesty.
“The acknowledgment [of the crimes] is important because the amnesty is an act of beneficence on the part of the State. It will rub out all the incidence like nothing happened, but it needs a confession-- which Trillanes failed to do,” Roque said.
Roque also dismissed claims that the Duterte administration is hitting back on one of its top critics, insisting there’s nothing political behind the call for the apprehension of Trillanes.
He also said that the revocation does not need concurrence of Congress.
“It’s not needed because first of all, it’s the job of the President to enforce the law. So, when it was confirmed that Trillanes did not meet the preconditions for amnesty, the Executive declared it void ab initio,” said Roque.
“But Senator Trillanes will have his day in court, not only to prove his innocence on the charges of coup d’état against him, but also on the revocation of the amnesty. I’m sure he will go running to court,” he added.
Roque said they were not undoing Trillanes’ amnesty.
“We are not undoing it. It was never effective because he did not comply with the requirements, that’s the meaning of void ab initio. There’s nothing to undo because it’s not valid from the very beginning,” Roque said.
Roque also denied claims that here the move was sudden, saying officials began reviewing Trillanes’ case two years ago.
“It’s two years in the offing. There was maximum tolerance shown, but when it was confirmed that there was no compliance with the requirements set forth for the amnesty, the President didn’t have any alternative but to execute the law,” Roque said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra echoed Roque, saying Trillanes’ amnesty never existed.
“It has never been valid for non-compliance with certain mandatory requirements,” he said.
He also denied that the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty was politically motivated.
“It’s not a question of political opposition. It’s a matter of compliance with the law,” Guevarra said.
The Justice Department has sought the issuance of a hold departure order and an arrest warrant against Trillanes.
Calida declined to comment on Trillanes’ claim that he was behind the revocation of his amnesty.
A Defense department official said without the amnesty, Trillanes was considered back in active duty.
Defense department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said Trillanes would then have to face administrative and criminal charges in connection with the coup attempts against the Arroyo administration.
Aquino, who granted Trillanes pardon under his term, said he personally reviewed the records, vouching that the senator applied for the program.
In an interview with Rappler, Aquino called on the government to respect and recognize the amnesty.
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, get more info then any law that abridges that freedom cannot stand.
* * *
As for Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who also holds the 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.