Duterte impersonator fools Malacañang transcribers
A radio correspondent from Bicol convinced even Palace transcribers that he was President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Monday, March 19, media were sent a Malacañang transcript of a radio interview, supposedly of Duterte and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, with DZRH anchors Deo Macalma and Rica Herra.
It turns out, it was not the President himself who spoke on air but Jun Alegre, DZRH's Bicol correspondent.
Alegre, pretending to be Duterte, "confirmed" his full support for Go's supposed senatorial bid.
Problem is, Palace transcribers seemed to think it was really the President speaking. In transcripts of the interview sent to media, transcribers from the News and Information Bureau (NIB) labeled it, "Interview with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte by Deo Macalma/Rica Herra/Isyu/DZRH."
The NIB is under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
Various media outfits, seeing no reason to doubt the official transcript, wrote news articles based on it.
GMA News Online, for instance, wrote a story titled "Duterte on Bong Go's possible Senate bid: 'Itinaas ko na ang kamay niyan.'" The story has been taken down from the news website.
Reporters in Camarines Sur, in the region from which the impersonator hails, even asked Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque about the same quote, supposedly from Duterte.
Go took part in the mock interview and it was likely his playing along with the impersonation that lent credence to the thought that it was Duterte speaking.
"Salamat, Mr President at tumawag kayo sa DZRH at ginawa mong live. Alam mo puso mo at ang puso ko ay iisa, para sa tao," said Go.
(Thank you, Mr President for calling DZRH and making the call live. You know your heart and mine are one, for the people.)
A DZRH anchor then went on to ask: "So, Mr President, puwede na po naming itaas ang kanyang kamay for senator sa 2019, Mr President, may go signal na po ba sa inyo?"
(So Mr President, can we raise Bong Go's hand for senator in 2019, Mr President, does he have your go signal?)
Alegre, pretending to be Duterte, replied: "Itaas na ninyo ang kamay niyan. Itinaas ko na ang kamay niyan." (You can already raise his hand. I've raised it already.)
More than two hours after sending the misleading interview transcript, the NIB sent an erratum to media.
"The transcription titled 'Interview with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte' by Deo Macalma and Rica [Herra] over DZRH on March 19, 2018 should read 'Interview with Impersonator of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.' Apologies for the error-NIB Transcription Section." – Rappler.com
Inside Track is Rappler's intelligencer on people, events, places and everything of public interest. It's a take-off from Newsbreak's Inside Track section. Contributions are most welcome. Just send bits of information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newsbreak was built on the tradition of integrity-driven investigative reporting. Furthermore, it aims to engage readers and the community.
You can join the conversation by becoming a Rappler PLUS member.
PLUS members will receive our editorial newsletters and industry reports, get to join online conversations with our award-winning journalists, and be part of our monthly events.
More than that, you will help enable Newsbreak to continue doing compelling and investigative work.
Make your move now. Join Rappler PLUS.