Obsession and avoidance?*

IT was quite obvious in the recent dialogue between President Duterte and Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo that the President kept on bringing the issue back to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Some people noted that Duterte appeared to be obsessed with his number one critic. Could we blame anyone for such an assumption when there was a time in the midst of their conversation about rice and Cabinet meetings that the President brought the topic back to Trillanes?

Apparently, Duterte was unsatisfied with the time he spent defending his action to nullify former President Noynoy Aquino’s amnesty grant to Trillanes.

Panelo tried to talk about the President’s health condition, which his critics like Joma Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and former professor of Duterte, kept on hitting.

Duterte answered by exposing that there was an alleged conspiracy between the communists and Trillanes’s group Magdalo to overthrow his administration. To many, Trillanes conspiring with the communists was not that easy to accept.

More surprising was the President’s statement that they possess the evidence of the perpetrators’ constant communication provided by a foreign country which would reportedly be shown any day now. When Panelo tried to shift the conversation back to Duterte’s health, the President chose not to give any comment.

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Some people believe Duterte may have been rattled by Trillanes openly challenging Proclamation 572. Such defiance has gained widespread support, what with the failure of the military to arrest the senator. Trillanes is looking more heroic as the government displays its mean streak.

They want to know if Duterte is now allowing a foreign country to dip its finger into our country’s affairs? Can this be considered legal while we have a law against wiretapping?

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Some took notice of Duterte appearing ill, out of focus, and would suddenly talk about Trillanes even if he and Panelo were discussing a different topic. He supposedly appeared to have suffered a stroke, had very dark skin as well as a dark face like someone who had undergone radiation therapy. It was in congruent with his arms’ skin color.

These are just observations of some people. Whether or not I agree with them is of no consequence since it is the right of the public to know the truth about the President’s current state of health.

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 SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.


*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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