‘NOT FAKE NEWS’
Joma Sison won’t apologize for ‘Duterte in a coma’ talk
Published August 22, 2018 9:13am
Updated August 22, 2018 2:48pm
Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison on Wednesday refused to say sorry for saying President Rodrigo Duterte was in a comatose state.
Sison alleged on Sunday that Duterte fell into a coma after he attended the national convention of his San Beda Law fraternity Lex Talionis Fraternitas after his health took a turn for the worst.
He said in a Skype interview on ANC that he made a “one paragraph comment” on the President’s health based on an alleged report that Duterte fell into a coma because “it was interesting to (him).”
“It was not fake news because the people around him, or some of the people around him, were surprised that he was very much unavailable,” Sison argued.
“Even some of them tried to contact him on Sunday so they started to guess, that for some serious reason, because of his health condition, Duterte had become indisposed,” he continued.
Because the President’s health is of public interest, Sison said he wanted his remarks to prompt an investigation into Duterte’s health through the media.
“I was saying that probably the press or his doctors, the press will be able to find out what is happening, or he himself will have to appear, or his doctors would have to put out a medical bulletin,” he said.
To dispute Sison’s allegation, Special Assistant to the President videoed Duterte on Monday night on Facebook Live having dinner with a female companion.
In the video, Duterte addressed Sison, saying, “Ikaw ‘yung comatose. Ikaw ‘yung may sakit.”
Duterte also slammed Sison on Tuesday during a speech at the League of Municipalities-Visayas Island Cluster Conference in Cebu City, scoffing and saying, “I don’t know what he means by comatose ako. Nasa kama lang ako. Comatose? Matagal pa ako.”
But even with Duterte’s appearance in Cebu, Sison refused to apologize for his “cautious and well-qualified statement.”
He then noted that he hopes for Duterte’s good health beyond the end of his term so the President can supposedly face trial for inciting impunity in the police during his bloody war on drugs.
“Let me point out: Many people wish Duterte to be dead, but as far as I’m concerned, that could be an easy way out for him. He will not be held accountable for his crime,” Sison said.
“I want him alive beyond 2022, the end of his term, so that the International Criminal Court or even the people’s court of the revolutionary movement can go after him.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque shrugged off the latest pronouncements of Sison.
“He’s clearly delusional,” Roque said in a message to reporters.
Sison reasserted that pictures sent in from Davao and Cebu showed “severe discoloration on (Duterte’s) face,” and that the President himself admitted to enduring at least four illnesses at the moment.
One of these diseases is a vascular disease “which is supposed to affect the veins, it involves the blood flow, and specifically, in the case of Duterte, to his head. Which is to say, not only his face is affected, but even his brain.”
Sison asserted that doctors in the Philippines made several prognosis on the President’s health based on the public disclosures he made in public speeches.
Duterte said Sison abused his own mind after the communist leader claimed that he had lapsed into a coma after a long bout of illness.
While the President called Sison a “freeloader” who abused the privileges granted to him by the Netherlands, Sison said the video message given by Duterte showed him in recovery from medical treatments.
Other people also came to Duterte’s defense.
His daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio dismissed on Monday the reports and said “he ate sinigang na ribs and pansit for lunch today.”
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said the public should not believe someone who is miles away from the country.
Senator Cynthia Villar said Duterte looked healthy when she saw him in Davao City last Friday.
Two fraternity brothers of Duterte also branded as untrue the allegation.
Former President Benigno Aquino III, however, said Tuesday that Duterte’s health should be an open book to the public.
“Kung walang issue, kayang-kayang sagutin. Palagay ko naman importante rin ‘yun na magpakalma sa sambayanan na talagang maging klarong-klaro at maliwanag na maliwanag, lalo na pag may nagtatanong,” Aquino told reporters. —Rie Takumi and Virgil Lopez/KG, GMA News