Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bzzzzz: Things are not what they seem: Uson was fired; Roque shut out anew, goes on leave

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque III (left) and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go. (SunStar File)

Scrolling down: Who leaked the story that Uson was sacked weeks before she announced she resigned? Roque having been shut out again, this time on Duterte's Hong Kong trip, must have prompted the president's spokesman not to show up Monday at the Palace briefing as he promised before the weekend break.

TWO prominent personalities in President Duterte's communication service presented postures that turned out to be not what they seemed:

* Mocha Uson, assistant secretary at the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) who announced a few days ago that she resigned as her "sacrifice" for the department (so that its budget would be approved) by Congress was actually fired by Duterte. A story broke out Monday (October 8) that the role Uson play-acted was not supported by the facts.

* Harry Roque, the president's spokesman, before the weekend told reporters he would be back on the first working day of this week to announce his decision: either to resign or to stay in a government office. He did neither. He suddenly went on leave, apparently sulking that he was not told again where the president was (in Hong Kong, not in Davao).

Uson is already out but the speculation now is whether she would still go "bakbakan" for Duterte who fired her, instead of just accepting her resignation. Who leaked the real news? Had it stayed a secret she would've been spared the embarrassment of being sacked.

"Sobra na abusado at arogante" was supposed to have come from Duterte who ordered special assistant Bong Go to fire her.

Diagnosis, conclusion

Senator Chiz Escudero distinguished "diagnostic" information from "findings" or "conclusions." Duterte, Chiz said, was informed of the diagnosis, not its results, which would be the findings or conclusions.

You know what: Chiz is a lawyer, not a doctor. And he was hair-splitting like a lawyer. The more credible and easier to understand option is for Malacanang to have the president's doctor explain it in a medical bulletin or a press-con.

For now, most lay persons who are familiar with medical procedure because they deal with doctors often will put it this way: A growth or growths were found in Duterte's digestive tract. They are suspected to be cancerous. Doctors and even Duterte want to be sure. So they make him submit to more tests. The hospital visit that Harry Roque and Bong Go said the president did not make was for those additional tests.

Bong Go knew

Harry Roque was probably not told about his boss's Cardinal Santos hospital checkup. But Bong Go must have known about it -- or he was most likely also there since he is supposed to be wherever the president goes.

Both Duterte subordinates denied the hospital visit. The degree of culpability that each must answer to the public therefore varies.

Roque wouldn't face probing questions on the issue if he wouldn't run for the Senate. But Bong Go might still push his bid despite his low ratings; he would be asked if he lied.


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