By Jullie Yap Daza
Time to “rejuvenate” is what Malacañang asks for President Duterte, who’s not about to reveal where he spent five days of “alone” time last week.
Maybe Ernesto Abella, spokesperson, is playing games with us, or maybe he’s not, but could he be telling us that his boss disappeared from public view to undergo a stem-cell procedure? Rejuvenation by autologous (using the patient’s own cells) or other means is very “in” among senior citizens and those about to hit middle age, and it requires down time of a week or so (five days?). There’s another procedure involving botox injections, good for six months.
For someone whose daily routine is a punishing schedule of meetings, speeches, reading, signing papers, including top secret reports, and keeping track of a war heading to its 30th day, the President at 72 has the energy to challenge CEOs in the corporate world who are only in their 40s or 50s. He may have said, “What you see is what you get,” but we know that the aura of a president projects power, and power is youthfulness (that’s how we want it, in the age of media hype). We did know he was in a good mood when he could not resist making a joke as usual, revealing that he woke up on the fifth day to find himself in a morgue, alone with one bodyguard. Mr. President, do you always have to be so morbid?
The one who was not kidding was former President Estrada, who knows a thing or two about stem cells. In Bangkok, billboards and magazine ads show him endorsing the procedure to anyone wishing to look young and feel great. This is the same Erap who’s advising citizens to leave the President alone to his private time because he needs to unwind and de-stress.
What keeps a president going? Henry Kissinger once intuited that “power is the last aphrodisiac” – the man who has wealth, success, vigor, children and heirs, the love of one or many women, perhaps even honor and the respect of his fellowmen, doesn’t need anything else when he has power and uses it. The doctor’s prescription for any president on the go: A massive dose of vitamin C daily.
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