No, the jet ski boast was not a joke. It was a lie.

Joke is defined by Merriam-Webster as something said or done to provoke laughter while a lie is an untrue statement made with the intention to deceive.

It was a lie, planned with his campaign staff, which he used in almost all of his 2016 campaign rallies, complete with flag-kissing. There was the INTENTION to deceive.

And indeed, 16.6 million were deceived. And Rodrigo Duterte became the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines.
It was another lie, on top of a lie, when he said it was a joke, when asked to account for his campaign promises. He kept on repeating that lie, the latest of which was last May 10 when, during his weekly televised talk, he said that those who believed his ”joke“ were stupid.
Talk about adding insult to injury.

In his own words:

“Panahon sa kampa — panahon sa kampanya ‘yan. At saka ‘yong biro na ‘yon, ‘yong delabra — we call it “bravado,” ‘yong bravado ko that was just a pure campaign joke.

“At kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila, pati na siguro si Carpio pati si — I would say that you are really stupid. Sige, maghanap ka ng tao dito magpunta ng jet ski. Hindi pa mag-abot pa ng ilang oras I would conk out in the middle of the sea … ýung naniniwala kayo niyan, I really do not know if you — if you harp on that, it’s — it’s a pure … I was not taking lightly the sovereignty but it was a pure joke actually, but just to emphasize na talagang hinaluan ko lang ng biro.
“Isipin ninyo kung paano maging totoo ‘yan, matutunaw ‘yong utak ninyo. Maniwala sa jet ski p**…’”

(That was during a campaign. And that joke was, in other words, — we call it bravado, that bravado was just a pure campaign joke.

And if you believe on the other side, maybe including Carpio and … I would say that you are really stupid. Go, look for someone who would go with a jet ski. Even before a few hours later I would conk out in the middle of the sea … those who believe that, I really do not know if you — if you harp on that, it’s — it’s just a pure — I was not taking lightly the sovereignty but it was a pure joke actually, but just to emphasize that, I injected humor into it.

Think how it can be true, your brains will melt. Believe in jet ski …p**…)

By constantly repeating the jet ski lie as a joke, Duterte has come to believe it. Stupid is he who believes his own lie.


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Medical bulletin, not staged photos, please!

Instead of having Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go post staged photos to prove that President Rodrigo Duterte is alive, why doesn’t Malacañang release a medical bulletin on the chief executive’s health?

That should end once and for all talks about his health, which has become so unhealthy not only for him but also for the public.

The president was last seen live on TV on March 29. He missed his April 5 televised briefing.

The talks about the president’s health have become morbid as it was reported that at least 45 members of the Presidential Security Group tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque is in the hospital, also for COVID-19.

The report about his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, going to Singapore for “personal health management” has added fuel to the rumors.

To prove that the president is alive, Go released on April 7, Wednesday, a picture of Duterte and him in what looks like an office, with the Philippine Star issue of that day on the table.

April 9, Friday, was Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor). There was only a written message from the president. There was no video message even if his spokesperson assured that the President “remains fit and healthy for his age” at 76.

On April 10, Saturday, Go released a set of photos and a short video showing the president jogging at night. One photo showed him riding a motorbike that was, of course, stationary. There was no indication when it was taken.

The photos only fueled more speculations. Why was it taken at night? Except for the one with Duterte on a bike, the pictures of him walking and jogging, or trying to jog, were long shots. Keen observers noticed that the person jogging had no paunch. Was that a double?

We will leave the forensics of those photos to the experts.

Meanwhile, tigilan na, please! Just release a medical bulletin!

Section 12 of Art. VII of the Constitution states: “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health.”

Truth will find its way out

Screen grab from video showing President Duterte attempting to grope the woman bringing him his birthday cake.

Presidential-aide-turned-senator Christopher “Bong” Go recently tried to mislead the public with a cropped photo of President Rodrigo Duterte having a “simple” birthday celebration.

Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the public, the truth came out. It’s a stinging reminder of the superiority of truth over lies.

On Duterte’s 76th birthday, Go posted on his Facebook account a photo of the president blowing a candle over a cup of rice with a caption that read: “Sa matagal na panahong kasama ko ang Pangulo, marami akong hinangaan at natutunan sa kanya. Isa na dito ang kanyang simpleng pagkatao. Bawat kaarawan niya, kahit kailan ay hindi po yun nagpa-party o nag-celebrate.

“Kaya sa loob ng 23 taon na aming pagsasama, pinili ko ring hindi magparty sa tuwing panahon ng kaarawan ko katulad niya.

“Ngayong kaarawan ni Tatay Digong, samahan natin siya sa simpleng pagdarasal at pasasalamat sa Panginoon. Marami pa namang selebrasyon sa buhay natin. Ang importante ngayon ay alalahanin natin na buhay tayo at patuloy tayong magtulungan at malampasan natin ang krisis na ito.”

At least one newspaper picked up Go’s line of the president having a simple birthday celebration.

Sen. Bong Go’s FB post

Shortly after, a video circulated online showing Duterte’s birthday celebration. Obviously, it was not as simple as what Go wanted the public to swallow. The table was laden with more food, including a lechon.

“Simple” is relative. A seven-dish birthday celebration may be “simple” to Duterte and Go but it’s a feast to families who have to scrounge for their daily meal.

The video revealed another appalling truth: Duterte was seen trying to grope the woman who was bringing him a birthday cake. Another proof of the sordidness of his character.

Go’s misleading FB post was clearly a disinformation because there was an intention to mislead, deliberately omitting the lechon and other dishes on the table.

We do not know what other features of Duterte’s 76th birthday that Go did not share with the public.

It may be recalled that one of the revelations of the Duterte BPI bank accounts exposed by then senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2016 was the huge deposits that came into the joint account of then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his daughter Sara Z. Duterte in BPI, Julia Vargas branch in Ortigas Center on March 28, 2014, Duterte’s 69th birthday.
Seven deposits totalling P193, 705,615. 88 were credited to the joint account. The first was in the amount of P55,131,747.32, followed by P41,721,035.62. Then four deposits in the amount of P20,000,000.00 each came in. The last deposit for the day was in the amount of P16,852,832.94.

Initially, Duterte denied the existence of the bank account. But when bank deposits to the account disproved him, Duterte said the seven deposits on his birthday simply meant, “Ibig sabihin niyan marami akong kaibigan na mayaman. (It just means I have many rich friends.)”
VERA Files obtained the bank records from the Senate Record where Trillanes IV submitted the documents. These are the same documents that were submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman when Trillanes filed a plunder case against Duterte.

Then Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who was in-charge of the case, was suspended and later on dismissed. He is appealing his case before the Court of Appeals. The current Ombudsman has considered the case closed and terminated.

But just like what happened in his 76th “simple” birthday celebration, truth will find its way out. And just like the other truth of Duterte’s groping of their kasambahay, the public may be in for more appalling truths.

2022 Go-Duterte tandem: another way for Duterte to cling to power

Senator Bong Go holds cellphone for President Duterte

Amidst the disaster of unabated rise of COVID-19 cases (breaching the 5, 000 mark last Saturday, the highest daily increase since Aug. 26, 2020), the Filipino people are being set up for another tragedy: an attempt to bastardize the Constitution for President Duterte to continue being in power after his term ends on June 30, 2022.

Last week, the government Philippine News Agency (PNA) and a few other news outlets carried a story about the result of a privately-commissioned Pulse Asia survey showing that if elections were held today, the winning tandem would be Christopher “Bong” Go for president and Rodrigo Duterte for vice president.

A day after the release of the Pulse Asia survey, which was conducted Feb.10 to 19, Duterte disclosed in Dumaguete-Sibulan airport in Negros Oriental that Go had asked him to tell the people about his desire to be president of the country.

While introducing officials with him, including Go, Duterte shared: “When we were on our way here, he said, ‘please talk to the people, tell them that I want to run for president.’ So, Bong.”
That same day, there was a report about a PDP-Laban resolution calling on Duterte to run as vice president in the 2022 elections.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, PDP-Laban acting president who is known to be nurturing presidential ambitions in 2022, shot down the resolution as “not authorized.”

We are sure that if the Go-Duterte tandem pushes through in 2022, it will be challenged in court. These are our initial thoughts on the scheme:

The Constitution says: “The President and the Vice President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years, which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.”

Duterte and Go can say that the Constitution does not say that one who has served as president cannot run as vice president, but the Go-Duterte set up would be undermining the essence of the prohibition.
The role of the vice president has been famously described as a “heart beat” away from the presidency.
The Constitution further says: “If at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the Vice President-elect shall become President.”

This is reiterated two paragraphs after with this provision: “In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice-President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term.”

As vice president, would Duterte be contented to be a spare tire to his gofer? Or is the scheme really for “President Go” to resign to pave the way for “Vice President Duterte” to return to the presidency?
Isn’t that circumventing the six-year term cap without reelection for the presidency?

Despite Duterte’s oft-repeated complaints about the burden of the presidency, he wants to cling to the position. His minions in the House of Representatives have been trying in vain to push Charter Change.
The “Bong Go for President in 2022” on its own has not taken off. That’s why they have to resort to this Constitution-twisting scheme, banking on the popularity of Duterte.

This scheme gives credence to talks that Duterte is not enthusiastic about his daughter Sara succeeding him because he can’t control her and her husband.

With Go, he would be the one pulling the strings. And it would be a Duterte presidency Part II.

Guevarra’s speech reveals concern on ICC probe of Duterte

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (inset) addressed the U.N.Human Rights Council.

Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s bravado that he is not worried about the complaints of crimes against humanity filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against him and officials involved in the government’s bloody drug war, the speech of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last Feb. 24 betrayed the administration’s concern about it.

Toward the end of Guevarra’s speech delivered online, he enumerated what the Philippine government has done on the human rights aspect of Duterte’s brutal war on drugs. He said: “The PH strongly emphasizes its legal and judicial system, its domestic accountability mechanisms are functioning as they should. We reject any attempt by any external entity to assume jurisdiction over internal matters which are being addressed more than adequately by our national institutions and authorities.”

Are they concerned that outgoing ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s report expected to come out before the end of her term on June 15 would recommend investigation of the more than 50 communications that her office had been examining since 2018 and from which it has found “reasonable basis to believe” that crimes against humanity were committed in Duterte’s drug war?

Guevarra’s assertion that “(the Philippine) legal and judicial system, its domestic accountability mechanisms are functioning” stands hollow beside the track record of insolence that government agencies had shown in their response to cries for justice and accountability by families of victims and human rights groups.

A reliable government source said they have investigated less than 2% of the more than 5,000 drug-related killings admitted by police authorities.

Private firm Center for International Law (CenterLaw), which represents families of the victims of the drug war in 28 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila in the cases filed before the Supreme Court, accused in 2019 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of “underhanded machinations” when they submitted what the lawyers described as “rubbish” documents unrelated to the drug war when they were compelled by the High Court to provide the petitioners’ records of police operations.

The Rome Statute that created the ICC provides that it is the duty of every State to exercise its jurisdiction over those responsible for committing international crimes. The ICC can intervene only when it sees that the government is “unable or unwilling” to “genuinely” carry out the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Guevarra admitted that there were lapses in the police operations against illegal drugs and tried to show that the government is doing something about it.

In that same Feb. 24 speech, the justice secretary said: “Our initial and preliminary findings confirm that in many of these cases, law enforcement agents asserted that the subject of anti-drug operations resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back. Yet, no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted. No verification of its ownership was undertaken. No request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion.

It was also noted that, among others, in more than half of the records reviewed, the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and the processing of the crime scene.

“We have referred these initial findings to our national police authorities and we have been informed that the appropriate internal investigations of thousands of these incidents have been conducted. And scores of police officers have been recommended for administrative and criminal action. It is now the immediate task of the review panel to ensure that these recommendations have been acted upon and carried out by the proper disciplinarian authorities. And that measures are adopted to minimize loss of lives during legitimate law enforcement operations against illegal drugs. “

The ICC has shown that it is not easily impressed. In the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, leader of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) and former vice president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who was arrested in 2008 and convicted in 2016 (overturned two years later) of the charges of crimes against humanity, the international court dismissed as “grossly inadequate and not genuine” the supposed actions that the government undertook.

ICC also said: “Notably the Chamber found that the limited measures Bemba took were ‘primarily motivated’ by his desire to counter public allegation and rehabilitate the public image of the MLC.”
Doesn’t that sound familiar?