Duterte Salutes Hidilyn Diaz Three Years After Matrix Fiasco
Three years after the administration wrongly accused Hidilyn Diaz of her involvement in a supposed anti-Duterte ‘matrix’ plot, President Rodrigo Duterte invited Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz to a video call where he publicly saluted her for her historic achievement at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Mabuhay ka, and ako naman magsaludo sayo,” said Duterte. “Yes, ma’am!”
Diaz, who was wearing her air force uniform, attended the call from her quarantine hotel after arriving in the Philippines just a few hours ago. The gold medalist stated in prior interviews that the accusations of her unproven involvement in a supposed ‘matrix’ and the subsequent harassment from trolls was one of the biggest obstacles she overcame to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
However, three years since the event, the administration’s tone toward the Olympian has changed. Duterte greeted the first Filipino gold medalist by saying, “Your achievement is the achievement of the Philippine nation. We are extremely proud.”
While the President did not directly mention the events from three years ago, he did state, “It is good for you to let bygones be bygones and dwell solely on your victory with your family and with the nation.”
Aside from the growing cash pool Diaz will receive from the Philippines Sports Commission and a number of private companies, Duterte will be adding P3 million to her winnings as well as a house and lot in Zamboanga City, her hometown. He will also be awarding her with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Merit in a face-to-face ceremony at the time of her choosing.
Towards the end of the short call, Duterte hinted that the press from Diaz’s victory could lead to a career in public service.
“You are already a celebrity, it's a political stock. Take note of that. One day you'll want also to—baka makatulong ka sa country in some other way,” he said.