In the interview hosted by chief presidential legal adviser Salvador Panelo, Duterte attributed the dark skin of his face to sun exposure – not to failing health as claimed by critics.
AP/Wong Maye-E/File
Illness? Duterte says dark skin due to desert air
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Amid alleged plots to oust him from power, President Duterte held a live television interview yesterday at Malacañang to dispute concerns over his health as he discussed issues hounding the economy and his order to arrest Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

In the interview hosted by chief presidential legal adviser Salvador Panelo, Duterte attributed the dark skin of his face to sun exposure – not to failing health as claimed by critics.

Following his recent trip to Israel and Jordan, Duterte said his face darkened anew because he failed to apply an ointment that his wife recommended.

“It’s a desert, again I failed to apply the (ointment) my wife gave me. That’s why it turned dark again. It’s fine as long as I still look handsome,” he said in the interview aired by state-run PTV4.

Duterte then started lashing out at his critics, particularly Trillanes whom he accused of conniving with the communists to remove him from office.

“They have combined and we have the evidence, and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country,” Duterte said, referring to Trillanes’ Magdalo Group and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

To prove himself, Duterte said he will order the proper agencies to make public the destabilization plot against him.

“Maybe any day now, I ask that it be declassified and ipakita nila... Nahihigop lahat eh and they were in constant communication,” he added.

Duterte called for a press conference but members of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) and the Foreign Correspondents of the Philippines (FOCAP) were barred from the coverage exclusive to state media.

Upon his arrival from Jordan last weekend, Duterte claimed that there are efforts to oust him and the plotters are expected to shift to high gear by October.

Duterte revealed that a country sympathetic to the Philippines has been giving him information about efforts by some groups to merge in an effort to remove him from office.

Loose conspiracy

Duterte said there might be a “loose conspiracy” between the Magdalo and leftist groups to oust him.

“It might be loose conspiracy but they are into it,” he said, as he warned the soldiers to be careful with joining up with the Magdalo.

He cited information that not all members of Magdalo are “in agreement in membership to destabilize or overthrow the government.”

“I said my clear stand on the matter. If the Armed Forces think that I am not competent, that I am not qualified to be sitting here as President, I have discussed this matter with them in a command conference,” he said.

Duterte maintained he is not holding on to power like a dictator.

“It’s up to you. If you want another President, fine. I will not allow you to fight your own soldiers. So, I would not allow my soldiers to kill another soldier or a policeman shooting another soldier,” he said.

Angered by the call for support by Vice President Leni Robredo, other Liberal Party stalwarts for Trillanes, Duterte said he is ready to step down if necessary.

Duterte said he is merely trying to “govern the way I promise.”

“If you do not want me, and you think that a woman like Leni (Robredo) is more beautiful, and more capable, then you proceed with it. I am challenging all of you, really,” he said.

He addressed the military to join Trillanes if they believe his cause.

Duterte said he wants the destabilization efforts done and over with – if the opponents have enough manpower and firepower to launch any coup.

ANTONIO TRILLANES IV ILLNESS RODRIGO DUTERTE SALVADOR PANELO
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