NEWS reports said President Duterte apologized to Vice President Leni Robredo for believing “a false news” that she invited a United Nations prosecutor to talk about the drug war in the Philippines in her capacity as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs or ICAD.
“If she says that’s false news, ako I believe her. And I am sorry because I said you only realize that it is false news when the news comes out. And you hear it and you talk about it, you react to it, that is the problem,” Duterte was quoted in news reports.
The President earlier decided against appointing Robredo to his Cabinet after what he called “missteps” and he specified her alleged invitation to a “UN prosecutor.”
Robredo denied ever inviting a “UN prosecutor.”
“Wala akong UN prosecutor na kakilala, wala akong sinulatan, wala akong inimbita. Kaya kung may nakarating sa kanya na meron akong iniimbita, fake news ‘yun,(I don’t know any UN prosecutor. I didn’t write to anyone nor did I invite anyone. If he got word that I invited someone, that’s fake news,” she said in a media interview.
She added, “Sana si Presidente, hindi naniniwala sa fake news. (I hope the President doesn’t fall for fake news).”
There was no fake news that came from media.
If ever there were false news that got to the President, those were the reports of his minions which he believed.
Apparently, the “UN prosecutor” that Duterte was referring to was Phelim Kine, the former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, a non-government organization.
Last Nov. 11, following Robredo’s appointment as ICAD co-chair, Kine, who is now a director of research and investigations at the Physicians for Human Rights, offered his services through a tweet:
“Dear VP @lenirobredo – my bags are packed and I’m ready to come to the #Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous “drug war’.”
He made a recommendation: “Meanwhile here is my Recommendation No. 1: Arrest #Duterte and his henchmen for inciting & instigating mass murder.”
Duterte, not surprisingly, fell for Kine’s provocation. In a press briefing, he went ballistic and dared Robredo to bring Kine to the country. He said he will go to Robredo’s office and slap the human rights activist.
“P******** Leni, sa harap mo sampalin ko ‘yan.”I dare you, kung talagang dedicated ka, papasukin mo dito ang p********** ‘yan. Pupuntahan kita sa opisina mo, sampalin ko ‘yan sa harap mo.”
This incident underscores again the kind of reports that Duterte gets on which he bases his decisions. Innocent lives have been ruined and lost based on false news that the President gets.
It was easy for Duterte to apologize on this false news on the UN prosecutor. The bigger problem for him is to get Robredo out of ICAD before she uncovers what they have all been keeping from the public.