No apology: Palace distances itself from 'matrix' linking Hidilyn Diaz to anti-Duterte plot

Malacañang is not about to apologize to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz after her name was dragged in an alleged conspiracy to oust President Duterte back in 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte poses with Hidilyn Diaz, Olympic silver medalist, during a courtesy call at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City on August 11, 2016. (Malacañang)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque distanced the Palace from the issue, saying his office neither released such matrix nor accused Diaz of involvement in the anti-Duterte conspiracy in the first place.

Diaz recently made history when she won the country's first-ever Olympic gold during the Tokyo Games Monday, July 26. The Palace congratulated Diaz on her latest Olympic feat, two years after her name was included in the alleged matrix released by President Duterte's former spokesman.

"Wala po ano (None). As spokesperson, wala po akong kahit anong ibinintang kay Hidilyn Diaz (I did not accuse Hidilyn Diaz of anything)," Roque said during a televised press briefing when if the Palace will apologize to Diaz over the "matrix" controversy.

The Palace official admitted that he was not actually aware about the matrix.

"Hindi ko po alam kung ano iyong sinasabi ninyong matrix kasi sa tanggapan ko po at iisa lang po ang opisyal na spokesperson ng gobyerno – ako lang po iyon – eh wala po kaming ganiyan (I don't know anything about the so-called matrix because in my office, and I'm the only official spokesman of the government, we did not have that)," he said.

In April 2019, then Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo presented to the media the alleged matrix linking several personalities, including lawyers and journalists, to a plot to destroy the President's image.

In May 2019, Panelo released another "matrix" this time tagging the Liberal Party and Magdalo group of allegedly conspiring to oust the President. The names of Diaz and television host Gretchen Ho were among the names listed to have "online collaboration" with a person suspected of spreading some anti-Duterte videos.

The information, which supposedly came from foreign sources, was released to the public upon the orders of the Office of the President. The Palace however did not file any charges against the alleged conspirators.

Shortly after the release of the matrix, Diaz and Ho have denied involvement in any plot against the President.

Panelo later blamed some media entities for allegedly making the wrong analysis and assuming the supposed inclusion of Diaz and Ho to the ouster plot. He said the names of the two women appeared to show the alleged webmaster's online activities, including who he was following.