FIRST the rumor, as related in chat rooms and messages: "Latest chismiz in Manila: President Duterte has Stage 4 cancer. Reportedly undergoing cryotherapy in Singapore. (Country was abuzz he was there last week.)" And so forth, including, prognosis not being good, cancer "has metastasized," and having "less than a year to live."
(Cryotherapy is "a pain treatment that uses a method of localized freezing temperatures to deaden an irritated nerve" or a method of "freezing localized areas of some cancers, called cryosurgery.")
There were worse rumors before but this one is circulated along with real recent events such as the furor over that ambulance jet from Singapore that made a trip to Davao City and the bold announcement from a group allied with the president seeking a revolutionary government with Duterte as the leader.
And how did Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque shoot down the rumor? On Wednesday, August 26, Roque said (1) the doctor's advice about his diet was given "a long time ago when the president was still drinking," (2) the medical warning was made on the basis of a finding that he was "nearing Stage 1" and Duterte had "followed" the advice, and (3) "the 75-year-old president remains healthy."
In sum, as explained by Roque in an interview on CNN Philippines, it was old news (which happened allegedly when Duterte was not even president yet) and a major fact was wrong ("nearing Stage 1" and not "Stage 4" of cancer). And apparently, the cancer referred to was Barrett's esophagus, which the president cited in his pre-recorded address to the nation aired Tuesday morning, August 25, in which he mentioned about people having money and yet can no longer eat what they wish to eat.
Who is Sarah Balabagan? And why should her confession on social media as to the identity of her first-born child more than two decades ago still matter?
Sarah, then 14 years old, was a Filipina domestic helper in the United Arab Emirates where she was jailed from 1994 to 1996 on the charge of killing her employer who attempted to rape her. The government appealed to the family of the slain Arab and the execution was stayed and the penalty reduced to whiplashes and $41,000 paid by a Filipino businessman. She became an overnight celebrity and media sensation with her life made into a Tagalog film (her role in the biopic played by Cebuana Vina Morales).
Clavio was then a TV news reporter assigned by his news outfit to cover Sarah. He befriended Sarah, eventually expanding his interest in her as a news source to that of a young lover. He was 32 something and married. Sara was 17, still a minor who had gone through the trauma of attempted rape and extremely vulnerable. He made her pregnant, or so Sarah Balabagan.
Sara said she and Clavio, now a program host and TV star, made a pact not to reveal his identity as a father. That had turned out to be a 23-year-old or so secret. In the interim, two names of other suspected fathers came up: the businessman whom Sarah in the same expose identified as William Gatchalian (who has invested in Cebu) and Roy Seneres, the Filipino ambassador who helped hide her from the authorities.
Why was she talking only now? Based in Las Vegas, Nevada in the US, Sarah, married and with four other children, said she had sought forgiveness from her husband, her kids, her mom, and even the wife of Arnold who, Sarah said, sought her out to tell her she had forgiven him. And repeatedly she said she was coming out with the information for her children, who include a newborn.
Talks about Arnold's legal liability for seducing a minor are academic because the crime of child abuse, if any, has already prescribed. But he could admit paternity. Or not, because it might affect the rights of his legitimate children. For several days already, it has been dead air, from usually glib, fast-talking broadcaster Clavio's microphone.
Tell us about it.