President Rodrigo Duterte’s apologists may contest all the rumors that the chief executive is really sick, but I am certain that he is not well.
My source is impeccable. My source is the president himself.
Recall that sometime last year, Mr. Duterte admitted that he was taking the drug fentanyl every night “on doctor’s orders.” More recently, he also admitted that he is on constant pain.
Fentanyl is described as “a potent narcotic analgesic, abuse of which leads to addiction.”
For all intents, therefore, the Philippines has a drug addict for a president. How ironic considering that Mr. Duterte will be remembered for his drug war that has resulted in the killing of thousands of mostly poor drug users and a handful of pushers and dealers.
As for the big Chinese drug lords, not one has been caught and charged, much less convicted or killed.
Incidentally, the most common drug used by users hereabouts is shabu, AKA poor man’s crack cocaine. A few have been caught due to possession and use of marijuana, which is legal in a growing number of US states as well as European countries, which Mr. Duterte previously acknowledged as having potent medicinal use.
Meanwhile, the opioid fentanyl is still available both legally and illegally.
For as long as the president has his supply, he is expected to continue acting as president, occasionally disappearing from public view when the aches and pains that come will old age affect him. In his lucid moments, he may speak out about his desire to quit but then takes a 180 degree turn when he realizes that a non-friendly president who succeeds him may file the proper charges against Mr. Duterte for his crimes against the people.
While his physical state has been questioned often enough, it is his mental state that may be cause for alarm.
One of the side effects of constant use of fentanyl is confusion and hallucination. Mr. Duterte has shown that signs of both, notably the former. During his speeches, he sometimes speaks too slowly with long pauses that indicate that he is having difficulties thinking clearly.
It is during such moments when he shoots his mouth off, saying things that he later regrets. I have already lost count on the number of times he has threatened to resign.
In some ways, he reminds me of US President Donald Trump, who resorts to insults when his political opponents get his goat.
In the past few days, he has again set his sights on Senator Antonio Trillanes, saying that the opposition lawmaker has a low IQ.
Trillanes challenged Mr. Duterte to take an IQ test, offering to resign if it could be proven that the president has a higher IQ than him.
Of course, Mr. Duterte is not that insane. Not yet, at least. But he knows that Trillanes will almost certainly score much higher than him should the two take the same IQ test. The senator has several degrees and while not a genius, comes across as extremely intelligent if somewhat cocky.
I only pray that Mr. Duterte not challenge Trillanes to a fist fight because the former military man will beat him to a pulp even with one hand tied behind his back.
A fairer fight might be against communist leader JomaSison, who has also questioned the president’s physical and mental state. Sison had mistakenly said that Mr. Duterte was already comatose more than a week ago, but backtracked when it was proven that the president could still make the occasional public appearance or two.
In turn, Mr. Duterte stated that it was his former teacher who was in poor health.
There is one thing that Malacanang can do to end all the talk of the president being seriously ill. He can undergo a complete medical exam and have the results released to the public.
This is not likely to happen though. Like Ferdinand Marcos before him who hid his lupus from the public, DigongDuterte cannot afford to let the people know that he is truly sick, in mind, body and spirit.