WHEN the News and Information Bureau (NIB) of the Presidential Communications Operations Office released an official transcript of a radio interview supposedly with President Rodrigo Duterte, media were quick to pick it up and prepared to report about it.
It turned out, however, that the "President" quoted in the official transcript was not Duterte himself, but his impersonator.
The NIB sent out to Palace reporters copies of a transcript of Duterte's supposed interview with dzRH.
The transcript was titled "Interview with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte by Deo Macalma/Rica Herra/Isyu/DRZH."
At least two prominent media outfits immediately reported it. They had to remove the report from their websites after dzRH reporter Henry Uri, a Malacañang reporter, revealed that the one quoted as the President was Jun Alegre, their correspondent in Bicol.
"Duterte's impersonator is Jun Alegre, (dzRH) correspondent in Bicol. He has long been impersonating (Duterte) in his program in Naga. We just took him as a regular segment every morning at 9 for almost three months now," Uri said.
Following the clarification, the NIB sent an erratum to Palace reporters for attributing the radio interview to the President.
The NIB apologized, and said that transcription should instead be read as “Interview with Impersonator of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.”
"Apologies for the error," the NIB said.
In that "interview," Alegre, impersonating the President, expressed admiration for the dedication of his closest and long-time aide, Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go.
Duterte's impersonator also endorsed Go, who he said has his "full blanket authority," should the latter decide to run for senator in the mid-term elections next year.
"I will move Heaven and earth just to prove to you that this man (Go) is a man of principle and integrity... He enjoys so -- you know -- [my] trust and confidence. He has the full blanket authority from the President," the impersonator said.
Go was also being interviewed by dzRH at the time. He remained coy and merely describe himself as "utility man" for now.
"Let's not talk about (plans to run for) senator yet. I will still just act as janitor. It's better to be a janitor and an all-around utility man (because) we can extend help," he said.
The impersonation of Duterte was made amid calls for Go to run for a Senate seat in the 2019 elections.
"(It was) just for fun but (Go) was aware of it. We told him that was an impersonator (of Duterte)," the dzRH reporter said. (SunStar Philippines)