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#NasaanAngPangulo trends after 4 days of ‘taking time off to rejuvenate’

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After skipping the 119th Independence Day Rites this Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte has never been seen in public since as he is said to be “just taking some time off to rejuvenate,” according to Malacañang.

On Thursday, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the 72-year-old President is “well” despite his absence, adding that it should be taken into account how Duterte had a “brutal” schedule.

“After all, you have to consider that he has been on the road for at least 23 days, fulfilling his martial law supervision, so it has been really brutal, so we have to allow him this kind of rest,” Abella told the media during the regular press briefing.

“He’s just tired,” he added.

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Abella said that Duterte was not suffering from any “major sickness,” although he added that he was not privy whether the President consulted a doctor for any health issues.

Duterte skipped the June 12 events because he was said to be resting. He took another “rest day” on June 13, according to Abella. On June 14, Rappler reported that a Palace source said Duterte had at least one private meeting on June 14. His schedule on that day did not involve any public events as he was supposed to fly back to Davao City. However, Abella said that Duterte is still in Manila and may go home to Davao City any time this week.

Days before the Independence Day celebration, the President was indeed busy, mostly visiting soldiers in Mindanao. On June 11, he went to Cagayan de Oro to visit soldiers wounded in the Marawi crisis. Later that day, he flew to Manila for the arrival of the remains of the slain Philippine Marines at the Villamor Air Base, still from the Marawi clashes.

Since he declared martial law in Mindanao, Duterte has been busy visiting military camps, wakes, and hospitals.

Rappler noted that the only other time Duterte was not seen in public for an extended period of time was from February 13 to 15, when he flew to Davao City to rest and spend time with his family.

Abella could not give an exact date of the President’s next public engagement.

Press about Duterte’s condition, Abella said, “I’m talking about his general sickness condition. I’m saying there is nothing to worry about in terms of sickness, major sickness, but what I’m saying is that considering the schedule he has been given, he needs to rest. You do need to rest, don’t you?”

Opposition’s reaction

Opposition lawmakers called on Duterte to explain his “unusual” absence from the public eye.

“The absence of the President from the public is very unusual especially there is still an ongoing crisis in Marawi. Much more to be absent for a week without explanation except to rest,” Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano told Congress reports via group message.

“People cannot help but speculate about the status of president’s health. Malacañang should be forthright in informing the public about this. [The] President’s health is a national security issue,” he added.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat agreed with Alejano.

“The President’s health is a national concern. Transparency is a must,” he said.

Netizens are looking for Duterte

In the afternoon of June 15, #NasaanAngPangulo trends on Twitter.

#NasaanAngPangulo

Writer Irish Dizon, @IrishDDizon, said that if it were Vice President Leni Robredo who has gone missing for 60 hours, the DDS, or Duterte’s supporters, would have raised a “sh*t storm.”

Some lamented just why the Palace “can’t give straight answers” and not give proof.

Twitter user @cocoy is even asking for a video of the President after several fake news from government officials.

@EliasSimoun suggested that people should look for the Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

Some slammed the excuse that Duterte was still sleeping, causing him to miss the Independence Day rites on Monday, with one even suggesting that the country’s slogan should now be, “Gising, Bayan!”

@naynab15 recalled how the same thing happened in last year’s Independence Day celebration in Davao City, too.

And this meme, of course.

@D0D0NNA also brought up Section 12 of Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which states, “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”

Amidst speculations about the President’s health, Palace sent these two photos of Duterte poring over documents and standing with Go.

Sources: ( gmanetwork.com , rappler.com , news.abs-cbn.com , newsinfo.inquirer.net )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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