A flair for the controversial

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    ‘…perhaps, we’re the ones who are naturally suspicious creatures, and the Palace is telling the truth with the Sphinx as its inspiration. It may just be another day in Dutertetopia, after all.’

    YOU have to hand it to our current crop of presidential appointees. They certainly have a flair for the controversial, oftentimes leaving observers and ordinary citizens dizzy in an attempt to decipher the real meaning of their declarations.

    A more recent example is the Presidential mouthpiece’s assertion that President Duterte was home in Davao City and overseeing the government’s efforts against COVID-19. I didn’t know what prompted the declaration, but belatedly I found out that it might have been said in oblique reaction to news that a private medivac jet had left Davao City for the island nation of Singapore. I was told that there was a story about the President being airlifted going around Facebook and other chat groups, in particular a platform dominated by the Titos and Titas of Manila, who are champions at forwarding to everyone else whatever lands in their inboxes.

    This was compounded by the news that Interior Secretary Eduardo Año tested positive again for COVID-19, just a few days from being in the same room as the President. Other cabinet members who attended the same meeting are reportedly in isolation, including Atty. Harry Roque. The question is: what about the President?

    A puzzling response from the Palace came yesterday: “The President is in perpetual isolation. There is a velvet rope that keeps people six people (sic) away from him.”

    Just for fun, I double checked the meaning of the word “perpetual,” and the Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as “everlasting, valid for all time, forever.” Indeed, what a strange and peculiar word to describe the current isolation circumstances of the Chief Executive. Making it even stranger is the narration of a velvet rope that is supposed to keep people away from President Duterte, as if he was a museum relic or fragile wax figure. Was it a matter of mispeaking on the part of Roque, or was it a deliberate attempt to once again obfuscate matters when it comes to the President’s health and whereabouts?

    One thing is certain — we may never know for sure what the real story is behind this merry-go-round of denials and gaslighting. Perhaps they will dust off Sec. Salvador Panelo to proclaim that the President is as healthy as a strapping young man in his twenties, or perhaps a photo of the President astride a horse ala-Vladimir Putin will surface. Maybe they will take a page out of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s book and produce photos of President Duterte pointing at things (there is a popular WordPress site called “Kim Jong Un Looking at Things” and another imgur account called “Kim Jong Un Pointing at Things”) to showcase that he is alive, alert, and enthusiastic, as the children’s song goes.

    Or perhaps, we’re the ones who are naturally suspicious creatures, and the Palace is telling the truth with the Sphinx as its inspiration. It may just be another day in Dutertetopia, after all.

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