I AM not wishing President Duterte ill but the lying and the manipulation about his health must stop. It insults the public’s intelligence.
Last Friday, Bong Go, who holds the title of “senator” but continues to be the president’s aide, posted in his Facebook page three photos of him and a sad looking Duterte riding a motorcycle with a caption: “Father Digong and I are ready!!! Wanna come with us? Ready Set Go!!!”
This was three days after Duterte cut short his trip to Tokyo for the ascension of Emperor Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum throne “due to unbearable pain in his spinal column near the pelvic bone as a consequence of his fall during his motorcycle ride last Thursday, Oct. 17,” Malacañang said.
Netizens immediately noticed something amiss with the motorcycle photo. The website Coconuts Manila asked: Why is the lighting on Duterte and Go’s faces different? Why does Duterte’s outline look different in two versions of what is clearly the same image? And finally, why does Go’s left leg appear to be cleanly lopped off at the knee?
Later, GMA News reported that Go admitted the Duterte-on-a-motorcycle photos were edited for “security reasons.”
What was the purpose in releasing a photo of Duterte in a motorcycle, anyway? If it was to prove that Duterte was well and fit to ride a motorcycle, why didn’t they release a video with Duterte zooming through EDSA?
The stationary bike gimmick is so amateurish, it’s pathetic.
If it’s true that Duterte is hale and hearty except for the “muscle spasm” that caused the pain, according to Go, what is preventing them from releasing the medical bulletin?
True, the Constitutional provision has the qualifying phrase, “In case of serious illness” but who can say what is serious or not? Go and Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo are not doctors. They are not in a position to determine a serious illness. Only a doctor can say that.
Malacañang’s refusal to release the medical bulletin and all these pathetic attempts to show that the President is strong and fit add to speculations that he is very sick.
And they are worried about the financial and political fallouts that the information would trigger. Investors would be holding back until the issue of succession becomes clear. There would be political realignments. Within the ruling coalition, everybody would be scrambling either to take over the leadership or to challenge it. What’s going to happen to Go and Sen. Bato dela Rosa without Duterte?
Even Duterte’s foreign friends will have to reassess the situation and find linkage to the opposition.
How long can they hold this “unbearable” situation?