"For being made to look like a fool, Roque has threatened to resign."
Lest we are perceived as un-Christian, let me say at the outset that I wish President Rodrigo Duterte well. His physical well-being and success in running the government for some 105-million Filipinos is a matter of national concern. What is unchristian were Digong’s blasphemous utterances against Pope Francis and that “stupid God.” I’m not going to exclaim “repent, you sinner!” My Christian faith after all believes that God is not vengeful. But He does work in mysterious ways.
Let’s now put into perspective why there is so much speculation on what ails the President. Initially, I did not want to go into this. But the ones who are fueling further speculations on the President’s health is himself and the politicians.
After quietly slipping into the Cardinal Santos hospital in San Juan City the President without disclosing the result of the tests, blurted out” “Cancer na kung cancer.” Often, his fawning supporters and Cabinet members after such remark defend The Boss, and would say “the President must not be taken seriously” or “his words were taken out of context.” A few days after his endoscopy and colonoscopy tests, the President himself said he was negative for cancer. Why not then Duterte’s doctors with the President’s permission, be the ones to issue a medical bulletin saying the President does not have cancer? That should do it, end of story.
Mr. Duterte is the President of the Republic who sought the highest office in the land. It was not foisted on him and no one pushed him into the presidency. Therefore, it must be a given that whatever he says or does must be taken seriously. Then, like throwing gasoline into a fire to put it out, the President himself speculated that Vice President Leni Robredo would be a “weak president.” His words, not mine.
Then there is a clause under the proposed federalism under charter change that bypasses Vice President Robredo in the line of succession in the event of the President stepping down due to serious illness or death Under the proposed federalism form of government, the Senate President—Senator Tito Sotto in this case—would take over as caretaker President during the transition period. Opposition members of the House of Representatives—Edcel Lagman, Gary Alejano and Tom Villarin—reacted to the move as against what is mandated in the 1987 Constitution.
Fortunately, there are still a few good men left in the House and through them the Vice President was included in the line of succession. Robredo remarked the exclusion ploy was an act of desperation by the President’s men.
In the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Pangilinan said there is no more time in the current Congress to deliberate on charter change and the federalism proposal.
Again, lest I am labeled a loyalist “yellow” of the opposition Liberal Party, I would like to make clear I have no love lost for the LPs and its dysfunctional leader, former President Noynoy Aquino. Yes, he is the same Aquino whose criminal neglect left dead 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, massacred by combined elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Force and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Going back on the President’s state of health, it does not help that his own Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque was left out of the loop. Poor Harry Roque. He was not told the President went to the Cardinal Santos Hospital for endoscopy and colonoscopy examinations. Not knowing the President’s schedule for the day, Roque was made to appear as lying when he said his boss just took a rest for the day.
For being made to look like a fool, Roque has threatened to resign. Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go who knows more about the President than anyone else, then announced that Mr. Duterte is in Hong Kong for a brief respite with official partner Honeylet Avancena and their daughter. Bong Go, of course, was with them
Both Roque and Go are seeking a seat in the Senate. It would be interesting to see who will win. The one who’s out of the presidential loop, or the one who knows all the secrets of the President including the President’s state of health.
Mr. Duterte is not keen about Roque’s running for the Senate. He thinks Roque cannot win therefore lessening his control of the Senate. On the other hand, can Duterte afford to lose his loyal and constant companion Bong Go? Being senator is a full-time job. Go cannot be in two places at the same time in the Senate and in Malacanang. The SAP is also known as President Duterte’s walking medicine cabinet who dispenses all his needed medications.