JUAN SAYS: Mayor Duterte accused the camp of Mar Roxas of circulating the news that he has cancer. Today, the writer of the said article about Duterte’s alleged sickness speaks out.
by Philip Jr Lustre
I deliberately did not speak out on my mind on my reported tussle with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte because of recent developments, which could only complicate the issue at everybody’s expense. For a while, I let old dogs lie, so to speak. That was the most prudent thing to do. Since, the issue has been cascading into a conclusion with me at the losing end, I am compelled to air my side.
I did not immediately speak out on the issue because Duterte’s refusal to file his certificate of candidacy on Oct. 16 has created new dynamics between the Davao City Mayor and the leaders and supporters of the informal movement that had launched his presidential bid.
I did not want to be caught between Duterte, who was then having a hard time explaining his decision to withdraw from the presidential race, and those leaders and supporters, who were experiencing mounting feelings of bitterness, frustration, anxiety, embarrassment, and loss of face – or even collective anger – for pushing hard on the presidential candidacy of a reluctant Duterte.
It was difficult for those leaders and followers to accept the fact that the very leader they had learned to idolize and put on a pedestal was leaving them hanging in the air. It was the height of black comedy that despite the massive goodwill and support they gave him all through the months of pushing his presidential bid, they would end up losers – or even the ones, who were being blamed for his withdrawal. Sila pa nga ang mga matitigas ang ulo at may kasalanan.
To add to the complications is out of my character. To exacerbate those dynamics would not do any good for me – and for the rest.
Duterte probably felt that his withdrawal from the presidential race would somehow vindicate me. I was the one who wrote that he has throat cancer. Despite all those vehement denials and cyberbullying I had from his supporters, I stood on my story. I stand to gain tremendously from his failure to run for president.
Duterte saw to it that I would not have that vindication. This was the reason he launched his attack on my person. He probably thought it was best for him to make me the scapegoat. I am a small fry and I qualify to become the perfect and convenient scapegoat. This way, he could justify his withdrawal before his irked followers.
I am reminded by what a netizen told us in one of my posts and she quoted former Rene Saguisag as saying that the Duterte was only good in bullying the weak and powerless. I am inclined to believe Saguisag’s statement.
But I felt vindicated. Duterte himself confirmed in radio interviews that he was suffering indeed from some ailment of the throat and esophagus. Although he did not say it was cancer, he claimed to suffer from constriction of the blood vessels in those parts of his body. Personally, I hope it was not cancer although my source told me otherwise.
LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas denied any knowledge of what I wrote, saying it did not come from his camp. That was correct and that was what I was saying since day one of the controversy. My source was not from the Roxas’s camp.
I am not bothered either by the fact that Roxas disowned any knowledge of personal acquaintance. Why would I? I would not insist before the prying public eye that he knows me because it is not prudent for a serious presidential candidate.
Politics is a contact sport. It does not pay for any serious presidential candidate to have unnecessary baggage, particularly for someone who in truth and in fact does not work for Mar Roxas. It amuses me no end, although in a Tempo article last Sunday, Mar said he knows me although we have not met for years. That is the truth.
Besides, I have been critical of Duterte since I wrote why I was against his presidential bid nearly two years ago. I was categorical in saying that I opposed – and I am still opposing – his advocacy of vigilante justice and federalism.
As a victim of the martial law regime, I opposed and is still opposing vigilantism because it could lead to dictatorship. I do not want to see the rise of a local version of a Pol Pot, who justifies the summary execution of criminals without undergoing the legal and judicial processes. I believe in the rule of law.
I also believed and is still believing that federalism is a lost cause and that our people had rejected it in previous elections. I also believe that federalism could lead to the dismemberment of our country into separate states.
Hence, my opposition to him was – and has always been – grounded on the basis of my deep personal convictions.
The radio interviewer, Anthony Taberna, wanted to make fun of me when he talked to Duterte and Roxas over the airwaves. I do not have the time to deal with this KUPAL broadcaster. Probably, in the future, I will.
I rest my case. I hope my statement would close the issue.


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