By Jun Ledesma

Watching Duterte

September 4, 2020, 12:17 am

EACH time President Rodrigo Duterte disappears from the eye of the prowling media, the rumor mill churns speculations he is ill and he is somewhere seeking medical attention. Sometimes this President can be cruel to his critics. The last time, he was missing from the public’s eye, he surfaced on Facebook having lunch with his family in his usual comfortable, frugal if not rustic lifestyle.
Earlier, the black propagandists of the opposition went about town with their story that Duterte surreptitiously flew to Singapore then back to Davao in a chartered Lear jet. The fairy tales absorbed reality in the minds of drolling opposition, Vice President Leni Robredo suddenly had a "make over". She was all over in Facebook pages with a new hairdo, facial look complete with a spectacle to make her “Presidential”.
To further heighten expectations Duterte made his detractors delirious by issuing a cryptic message that his Buerger's disease or Barret’s esophagus is about to graduate into cancer. This time it drew Ex-Sen. Antonio Trillanes from oblivion and make his usual posturings. Noticeably the frequency of Robredo’s appearance on the social media platforms, among them Rappler, became constant. Noticeably too, her media handlers saw to it that there will be less foul-ups in her statements that made her an object of unkind ridicule in the past. Apparently she now has a recording studio complete with a teleprompter to fix that.
Then, without any hint, the “ailing” Duterte flew to Jolo in an unscheduled flight to talk to the troops there and commiserate with the families of civilians who were victims of terrorist attacks. The following day, he held a meeting with Cabinet members along with the Inter-agency Task Force against COVID-19. As usual, the meetings lasted beyond 12 midnight.
For a 75-year old man, these harrowing schedules can really be daunting. To the drolling opposition, many of whom are used to a life of bonanza and comfort, Duterte’s work discipline is simply punishing and his health cannot simply sustain it.
Having covered the entire political life of Duterte however, and knowing his grueling activities which usually end up in his favorite KTV Bar where he sings to the wee hours of the morning, this septuagenarian may be tired but he is definitely far from retirement.


About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.