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AS A NATION that is proud of its history and culture, whose soil has been hallowed by the blood of martyrs and heroes who died by their honor and their word, the most shameful tragedy that we and our children have to endure now is to have another liar for a president. What makes our situation even worse is that we have a presidential communication office that churns out lies and fake news. And they proved to be effective in their shameless trade such that no less than a columnist from a national daily -- who purports to be a veteran and respectable one in his field – was caught quoting from a fake news website. Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta, in the middle of President Duterte being beaten black and blue by opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes by accusing the President of graft and not running after bigtime traders of illegal drugs, quoted US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley as having said that President Duterte should be given “space to run his nation.” Calling Haley a “superstar in the cabinet of Donald Trump,” Makabenta says that the Amerrican diplomat “placed her voice squarely on the side of President Duterte and the Philippines.” Nice words, especially from a distinguished Trump Cabinet member who took time out to defend the beleaguered Philippine president over issues that are “made only in the Philippines.” But alas, the quoted words from the lady ambassador were a fake! The official website of the United States Mission to the UN, where transcripts of the US ambassador’s speeches are regularly posted, show no record of Haley making such remarks to the UN General Assembly. In fact, in a January 2017 CNN report, during her confirmation hearing as Ambassador to the UN, Haley categorically expressed agreement that Duterte’s “sanctioned extrajudicial killings” violate basic human rights. Why is this happening? Why are trolls working overtime to fool the public? The reason is simple. We have a morally bankrupt president who sleeps soundly after telling a big lie, with about 16 million people heaping praises for him, laughing and clapping their hands every time their “idol” curses and cusses, says the foulest word, confesses that he ordered the killing of crime suspects, and when he runs out of another story to tell, tells another lie. When Sen. Antonio Trillanes proved that he did not have offshore bank accounts in Singapore or Hongkong, contrary to what the President accused him of, Duterte without batting an eyelash admitted that he “invented” those bank account numbers as “bait” for the senator to be caught red-handed. When it was Trillanes’ turn to challenge him to issue a waiver so that probers could dig into his wealth deposited in banks, Duterte said he was already a millionaire as a young student because her mother divided among the children her deceased husband’s enormous wealth. This wasn’t heard of when during the campaign Duterte narrated that his family was so poor after their father died that they did not have money to buy medicine for their sick mother. But former Information Secretary Tomas Gomez III could not bite Duterte’s latest story. Irritated that his common sense was challenged by the President’s claim, he posted this on his Facebook: “It appears from PDut’s story that his mother--Nanay Soleng---never ever entered, first, into exclusive possession of conjugal properties upon the demise of her spouse, Vicente (died 1968). She was a widow for 44 years. “Going by PDuts story, his mother does not figure at all in the ownership and in the 1970s’ disposition and distribution of inherited property! Their mother died in 2012! “Fact checkers will have fun with this personally crafted canard.”

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