The Philippines’ first female Olympic medalist said that she fears for her safety after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s government named her in a chart claiming to show a plot to undermine his rule.
People called out publicly by the president in the past for perceived wrongdoings — frequently in the form of alleged links to the drug trade — have ended up dead or in jail.
The claim targeting weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz surfaced in the closing days of the campaigning in midterm elections, which have been marked by flying accusations.
“I am shocked. I am concerned for my security as well as that of my parents,” said Diaz, who became her country’s most successful female athlete when she won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“My mother is terrified because [journalists] are interviewing her and she has no idea why,” Diaz tearfully told Philippine TV network GMA late on Thursday, adding that online trolls are now also going after her.
Diaz, 28, was among dozens named in charts released by a Duterte spokesman on Wednesday, which allegedly showed links between people he accused of plotting to “discredit this administration.”
The charts, which did not substantiate the accusations, included the names of opposition politicians, an exiled communist guerrilla leader, journalists and others.
They were released in the closing days of a legislative election campaign thick with flying accusations, including allegations that Duterte’s family is tied to the drug trade.
The president has found international notoriety for his crackdown on narcotics in which police have killed thousands of alleged dealers and users.
Those accused in the government charts have issued forceful denials, including journalist Maria Ressa, who runs a Web site critical of Duterte and was arrested twice this year in what press advocates call intimidation efforts.
Diaz on Thursday posted a video on Facebook of herself tearfully rejecting any involvement in opposing the government.
“Please do not link somebody who is busy making sacrifices for everyone, for the Philippines. I am merely doing my best to represent the Philippines in weightlifting,” she wrote, as she prepares for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Last week, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo released another chart of opposition leaders and Filipino journalists he said were plotting to unseat the president.
Panelo avoided issuing an apology to Diaz on Friday, but he minimized her inclusion on the chart and blamed the media.
“There has been a wrong analysis of the diagram by some media outlets,” he said in a statement, adding that led to wrong “conclusions” by Diaz.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference