receiving cash gifts in millions of pesos on the 69th birthday, he should not have denied what the…
Presidential-aide-turned-senator Christopher “Bong” Go recently tried to mislead the public with a cropped photo of President Rodrigo Duterte having a “simple” birthday celebration.
Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the public, the truth came out. It’s a stinging reminder of the superiority of truth over lies.
On Duterte’s 76th birthday, Go posted on his Facebook account a photo of the president blowing a candle over a cup of rice with a caption that read: “Sa matagal na panahong kasama ko ang Pangulo, marami akong hinangaan at natutunan sa kanya. Isa na dito ang kanyang simpleng pagkatao. Bawat kaarawan niya, kahit kailan ay hindi po yun nagpa-party o nag-celebrate.
“Kaya sa loob ng 23 taon na aming pagsasama, pinili ko ring hindi magparty sa tuwing panahon ng kaarawan ko katulad niya.
“Ngayong kaarawan ni Tatay Digong, samahan natin siya sa simpleng pagdarasal at pasasalamat sa Panginoon. Marami pa namang selebrasyon sa buhay natin. Ang importante ngayon ay alalahanin natin na buhay tayo at patuloy tayong magtulungan at malampasan natin ang krisis na ito.”
At least one newspaper picked up Go’s line of the president having a simple birthday celebration.
Shortly after, a video circulated online showing Duterte’s birthday celebration. Obviously, it was not as simple as what Go wanted the public to swallow. The table was laden with more food, including a lechon.
“Simple” is relative. A seven-dish birthday celebration may be “simple” to Duterte and Go but it’s a feast to families who have to scrounge for their daily meal.
The video revealed another appalling truth: Duterte was seen trying to grope the woman who was bringing him a birthday cake. Another proof of the sordidness of his character.
Go’s misleading FB post was clearly a disinformation because there was an intention to mislead, deliberately omitting the lechon and other dishes on the table.
We do not know what other features of Duterte’s 76th birthday that Go did not share with the public.
It may be recalled that one of the revelations of the Duterte BPI bank accounts exposed by then senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2016 was the huge deposits that came into the joint account of then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his daughter Sara Z. Duterte in BPI, Julia Vargas branch in Ortigas Center onMarch 28, 2014, Duterte’s 69th birthday.
Seven deposits totalling P193, 705,615. 88 were credited to the joint account. The first was in the amount of P55,131,747.32, followed by P41,721,035.62. Then four deposits in the amount of P20,000,000.00 each came in. The last deposit for the day was in the amount of P16,852,832.94.
Initially, Duterte denied the existence of the bank account. But when bank deposits to the account disproved him, Duterte said the seven deposits on his birthday simply meant, "Ibig sabihin niyan marami akong kaibigan na mayaman. (It just means I have many rich friends.)"
VERA Files obtained the bank records from the Senate Record where Trillanes IV submitted the documents. These are the same documents that were submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman when Trillanes filed a plunder case against Duterte.
Then Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who was in-charge of the case, was suspended and later on dismissed. He is appealing his case before the Court of Appeals. The current Ombudsman has considered the case closed and terminated.
But just like what happened in his 76th “simple” birthday celebration, truth will find its way out. And just like the other truth of Duterte’s groping of their kasambahay, the public may be in for more appalling truths.
The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.