For the nth time, President Rodrigo Duterte has become a victim of what is known as ‘death hoax’ defined as a ‘deliberate or confused report of someone’s death that turns out to be incorrect.’.
Malacañang has denied such rumors and has also made a wise decision in not wasting its precious time tracing where it came from or running after those who are behind it, since the answer is pretty obvious anyway.
Looking at the positive side, it is now proven that indeed, Duterte has arrived. There was this incident in the US when a man claiming to be the physician of late President George H. W. Bush fed fake news that the latter died following an incident he had in Tokyo.
Sometime in March 2015, a student reportedly created a fake website and told of the death of Lee Kuan Yew. Lee is the first prime minister of Singapore.
Countless celebrities also fell victim to death hoax, among them Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Chan, etcetera.
Here in our country, then presidential son Bongbong Marcos was also rumored to have died and that the one that we see now is an impostor.
Previously, Duterte’s political foes have mounted a rumor campaign centering on his supposed ill health. Apparently, none of this worked so that the death hoax had to be the next option.
The bad news for those behind the ugly rumors is this. Filipinos tend to love and empathize with the underdog, no matter who he is, so this gimmick just won’t work.
It is acceptable for critics to slam the President for policies and pronouncements that they do not agree with, but it’s a totally different ballgame when they choose to pick on his health and life itself. That’s simply foul.
As a predominantly Roman Catholic, God-fearing nation, death is not something we would wish upon anyone, not even to the worst of our enemies. Well, for my part, I take exception in the case of rotten felons who victimize and forever alter the lives of law-abiding citizens because of their illicit activities.
Just like what his spokesperson, Salvador Panelo has said, Duterte is no superman. Duterte, at his age of 73, I believe, is the oldest to assume the presidency and even if he were younger, we should not expect him not to get sick or get tired sometimes.
How many of us who are much younger than Duterte are now sick or have gotten the flu?
President Duterte apparently has gotten used to it, that he merely took the rumors with a grain of salt and even came out with a video message mocking those who apparently wish him dead.
“For those who believe in the news that I passed away, then I request of you, please pray for me, for the eternal repose of my soul. Thank you... I will ask god first if he’s available for interview because I will go there. What is your message? I will relay it. Priests, bishops, everyone. And the last wish of the drug addicts, you list them all. I will be the one to bring them to heaven or hell, it depends,” he said in Filipino.
If I were his critics I will not delve on health issues as this would merely endear him more to the Filipinos. As I have said, Filipinos go for the underdog.
Besides, I have not seen any President deal with the perennial illegal drugs problem with such iron-clad policy. Will our country benefit more than lose if Duterte dies? I doubt.
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