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Opinion

Family feud

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

The quarrel between President Digong and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, has been grist for the rumor mill in a country where gossip is a national pastime.

A very reliable source told this columnist that Digong has been trying to reach out to his Inday Sara (inday, pronounced ‘in-die,’ is a Visayan term of endearment) to no avail.

Sara’s ill feelings towards her father apparently stem from her parents’ separation.

While Digong already has a common-law wife (Honeylet Avanceña) and other girlfriends, Elizabeth Zimmerman-Duterte has not taken any partner since the separation.

My sources in Davao City say Elizabeth, a former Philippine Airlines flight attendant, still cares for Digong.

The parting of ways between Digong and Elizabeth was so bitter she has bared court records for the annulment of their marriage.

According to the court records, Digong is a womanizer.

(This columnist’s note: Send me a Filipino husband who is not gay and who claims he’s not been unfaithful to his wife, and I’ll tell you he’s a liar and hypocrite).

Anyway, Digong doesn’t deny that he’s a womanizer.

If I may digress a bit more, most Philippine presidents before Duterte – from Manuel L. Quezon to Joseph “Erap” Estrada – were (are) womanizers.

One of them even had his best friend marry a woman he impregnated to save the woman’s honor and hide his infidelity from his wife.

Another was caught by the woman’s husband in the matrimonial bedroom of the woman’s home.

Another president was brazen enough to make love to his mistress in Malacañang. Still another had so many mistresses he lost count of them.

But the father-daughter quarrel would not have gone public if Inday Sara didn’t make such a spectacle of it.

The bad blood between offspring and parent came to a head when Sara told her father not to use her as a pivot for Digong and Sen. Bong Go’s political plans.

The President, who’s been nominated by the PDP-Laban party to run for vice president, has been saying he wouldn’t want Sara to run for president, to spare her from public censure.

It was expected that Digong would choose Bong Go as the PDP-Laban’s standard bearer.

The father-daughter rift worsened when Sara and her siblings, Paolo and Sebastian, could not go straight to the President without passing through Bong Go.

It was not Go’s idea that everybody, without exception, should pass through him; it was the President’s.

It should be noted, however, that Bong Go defers to the presidential children. Go is just caught between a rock and a hard place.

As a father, whose weakness is like Digong’s, I understand where Sara is coming from.

But to show disrespect to her father and make a public spectacle of it is a sign of being a spoiled brat.

*      *      *

Hinting that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is too much of a burden, President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte said that he would accept the health chief’s “voluntary resignation.”

“Now, if Duque will offer to resign voluntarily, I will accept. But if you tell me, I’ll be the one to tell him to resign, that will never happen,” said Digong.

If Duque is sensitive enough, he will take the hint.

But many people wonder whether he will resign; too much is at stake for him.

Don’t ask what the stakes are. Only Duque knows.

Other persons in his situation would have resigned irrevocably even if he’s done nothing wrong, since his name is being besmirched.

Not Duque; he’s impervious to criticisms.

There’s a term for him in Filipino: Makapal ang mukha (shameless).

How shameless is Duque? Advised by Senator Go to “make a supreme sacrifice” by resigning, the health secretary later said, “If the time comes that I need to resign, there’s no problem with me.”

Let me repeat what Duque said about calls for his resignation: “If the time comes.”

One wonders when that time will come.

Sen. Dick Gordon was right in advising Duque to seek professional help.

“There are many psychiatrists there in DOH (Department of Health). Seek help from the DOH’s psychiatrists,” the senator said.

*      *      *

Tarlac Regional Trial Court Judge Stela Marie Q. Gandia-Asuncion is being applauded for “expeditiously resolving the murder cases of ex-police officer Jonel Nuezca” for the murders of a mother and her son during an altercation in their neighborhood in Paniqui on Dec. 20, 2020.

The case was resolved in eight months, two months ahead of a 10-month deadline mandated by the Supreme Court in finishing a trial.

Asuncion could have resolved the case in less than a month.

Why? Because the viral video of the shooting of the two victims – Sonia Gregorio, 52, and Frank Antonio Gregorio, 25 – spoke for itself.

All the judge should have done was to have the video authenticated by the witness who took it or by experts.

As they say, a picture – and, in this case, a video – is worth a thousand words.

Methinks Judge Asuncion took a very long time to compose the florid introduction to the court decision.

The judge is probably a frustrated short story writer.

I nearly fell off my chair reading the document. I doubled up in laughter.

Let me quote the honorable judge:

“It is the most wonderful time of the year, for it is but five days before Christmas. Despite the pandemic, Filipinos here and abroad, will still celebrate Christmas, albeit with modifications. When all other parts of the country are (sic) abuzz and jubilant for (sic) merriment, gun shots (sic) were heard from a peaceful town. Bang! Bang! The sound of a caliber 9 mm Pietro Beretta which took two lives in a split second. The gun was from a police officer. Yelling, screaming and crying are (sic) deafening.”

Your Honor, next time please stick to the facts.

SARA DUTERTE-CARPIO
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