Is Duterte Close to Death?
Allies of disordered Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who has not been neither seen nor photographed in public for four days, yesterday released a few photos showing the man looking visibly wan and stiff, and wearing a leather jacket (despite the hot weather) to hide his increasingly frail frame.
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Duterte's no-show is fueling rumors the president infamous for murdering drug suspects is either dead or close to death. Reports said Duterte suffered a stroke and that part his body is paralyzed.
The six new photos show him to be in the latter category. One particularly laughable photo shows Duterte poring over papers in Malacañang Palace, the residence of Philippine presidents in Manila.
Eagle-eyed observers noted Duterte was holding his pen upside down in the photo, meaning the pen point was pointed at the ceiling instead of towards the papers on his desk.
The state's propaganda agency said this photo showed the president still at work despite his no-show since June 11, Philippine Independence Day. It said it released the photos "to quell rumors that the President is sick."
Before these photos taken June 15 were released, Duterte was last seen in public on June 11.
Duterte's visibly weakened condition in the photos belies claims made by his apologists the former mayor of Davao City is in "excellent health" despite missing what was his first Independence Day celebration as president last June 12.
Chief presidential apologist Ernesto Abella said Duterte had to take a rest after dealing with a "brutal schedule" that involved him visiting wounded soldiers and those slain in the ongoing Battle of Marawi. Abella said Duterte is in "excellent health."
Vice-President; Foreign Affairs Secretary and chief Duterte sycophant Alan Peter Cayetano represented Duterte during the Independence Day flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Rizal Park in Manila on June 12.
Vice President Leni Robredo, who will replace Duterte when the latter steps down as president due to his widely speculated but unspecified terminal illness, led the rites instead.
It's widely held Duterte's allies will do all they can to prevent Robredo, who leads Filipinos defying Duterte's psychotic rule, from replacing Duterte.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a leading Duterte critic, assailed the president's absence at his administration's first Independence Day rites, saying Duterte lacked discipline.
Other Duterte critics, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, both from the House of Representatives, said Duterte's health status should be disclosed to the public since this is a national concern.
There is, however, no need to reveal the status of Duterte's health, claims presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo.
"The President is strong. He is strong as a bull," alleges Panelo.
He did, however, note the Philippine Constitution provides that the health of the president must be disclosed if the president has a serious illness.
Panelo and his fellow sycophants continue to skirt around this constitutional provision by falsely claiming Duterte isn't sick "whether serious or slight."
Duterte returned to his hometown of Davao City on June 15 to escape media scrutiny and to recover from his sickness.