DOZENS of them are being targeted by the Philippine National Police headed by Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa for their direct or indirect involvement in illegal drug trafficking and abuse, in fact scores have been arrested and jailed in buy-bust operations by the Quezon City Police District headed by Senior Superintendent Gilor Eleazar so far.
As of yesterday, the war on drugs has already resulted in the following: 13 policemen and three soldiers dead and 40 police officers and eight AFP personnel wounded on the side of the government. On the side of the enemies, 1,655 armed suspects have been killed in clashes with the police, 29,685 have been arrested while nearly 746,000 others, more than 54,000 of them drug traffickers and the rest shabu or marijuana users have surrendered
But right now, many celebrities are actually engaged in another ‘war,’ trading barbs in Facebook, some of them joined by netizens who have expressed their shock and disappointment over the purported attempts of actress Cynthia Patag and singer Jim Paredes and his wife Lydia—all known supporters of former President Aquino and defeated Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas—to link the unrelated death of Noli Asensio to President Duterte’s war against the illegal drug trade.
Reading from different blogs and Facebook messages, I found out that the controversy came to the fore after Asensio’s wife Iwi Laurel, and daughter Nicole called Patag out for posting a message sent to her by Lydia Paredes where it is alleged that Noli was “abducted and drugged” and “a victim of Duterte’s drug war.” I am reprinting the messages and you be the judge.
Cynthia Patag posted this message: HE WASN’T POOR By Lydia M. Paredes (wife of Jim).
Just got this message from Ana Segovia. Her cousin is a recovering addict and now a victim of Duterte’s war on drugs. Hello Gelz! I have more sad news. My cousin in Manila, Noli Asensio, son of my Tita Fides, passed away this morning. He was abducted and drugged. The next day he died. He is a victim of Duterte’s drug war. He was recovering from drug addiction. He was married to Iwi Laurel and has a daughter who sings, Nicole Asensio. My aunt (sis of my Mom) is so devastated. My cousin Dennis Asensio (brother of Noli) is flying to Manila from Chicago. Please pray for their family.
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However, the wife and daughter of Noli, Nicole Laurel Asensio and Iwi Laurel clarified that the whole story was a lie.
Nicole said in her Facebook post: “My father died with me in Makati Medical Center ER…Right beside me at his final hours…I am appalled at the yellow idiots who have gossiped and gossiped about his life and death, plotting to use his death to fuel their political schemes. Some of these yellowtards were my friends…Some are my own blood relatives. Read my moms post. Swallow it. Close your mouth when you chew. If you were so concerned about my dad or the family why didn’t you pay your respects? Thought so. It’s all about you. You’re not helping yourselves, the grieving family or the country by using my father’s death for your own vanity. LET ME LOVE AND HONOR HIM IN SILENCE.
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Iwi Laurel’s post in her personal Facebook account: “Many concerned friends have approached me at Noli’s wake about Facebook posts that have gone viral. Please allow me once and for all to help you get your facts straight.
Fact: Noli was not abducted and drugged. Fact: He was not killed. Fact: Noli was not a victim of “Duterte’s war on drugs.” Forgive me for saying this, but you were not in the ER during his last moments and we never appointed you to be the family’s spokesperson. So please, do not use Noli’s passing for any of your political motives and schemes.
If you are a good person, you will stop spreading all these lies. If you have compassion, you will understand that we are grieving for someone we love very much who was a good person and we miss him terribly. If you have extra time in your hands, I suggest you pray. Yes, prayer is the best thing you could engage in right now. And when you feel the urge to post anything again, maybe ask yourself if your words are true, necessary and helpful. But prayers please. We could find comfort in your prayers during these difficult times.”
I learned that the post has since been shared more than 2,000 times and has been commented on by close to five hundred people. Netizens including the highly-respected Tony Award-winning Broadway star, my favorite Ms. Lea Salonga expressed their shock and disappointment over the Facebook posts of Patag and Paredes.