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Presidential Apology Marks Duterte Meeting With Robredo At PMA Rites
It was another memorable meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, marked by a handshake, a presidential apology, and a few laughs at the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in Baguio City.
March 13th, 2017 | 09:37 AM | 552 views
The President apologized to Robredo for failing to mention her name at the start of his prepared speech at the PMA graduation rites in Baguio City. Duterte, trying to make light of the incident, offered to beat up his speechwriters for omitting Robredo’s name on the list of top government officials present in the ceremony.
The country’s two highest leaders, who recently had a falling out over political differences, shared the same stage during the graduation of PMA Salaknib Class of 2017.
“I apologize ma’am,” the President said, interrupting the delivery of his prepared speech. “Ang nagsulat ma’am dito hindi ka sinali. Bugbugin na lang natin (The one who wrote this didn’t include you. We’ll beat him up),” he added, eliciting laughter from the audience.
Duterte made up for the error and repeated his apology to Robredo: “I would like to apologize and acknowledge the presence of this beautiful lady, the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines.”
The commander-in-chief drew applause from the audience for his friendly gesture towards the Vice President. “Sorry, ma’am ha. Nawala na ako tuloy, ma’am,” he quipped, returning to reading his prepared speech.
Robredo, in her purple dress, smilingly responded to the President with a nod.
This was only the second time the two leaders attended the same public event since Robredo resigned from Duterte’s Cabinet in December last year. They last saw each other at the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting in Malacañang last January.
Before the PMA’s commencement exercises, Duterte shook hands with Robredo and they had briefly exchanged pleasantries that seemed to break the strain between them.
Duterte and Robredo were a seat apart with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana seated between them as protocol dictated during the graduation rites. Duterte was the guest of honor and speaker at the PMA graduation rites. He awarded the Presidential Saber to the PMA valedictorian Rovi Martinez, while Robredo presented , the Vice Presidential Saber to PMA salutatorian Philip Viscaya.
It was the first time the two leaders were together in a public event since Robredo resigned from the Cabinet last December. They were last together at a Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting last January.
Malacañang had earlier asked Robredo to stop attending Cabinet meetings, prompting the Vice President to quit her post as chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). Duterte later admitted he was uncomfortable working with Robredo since she appeared to be part of a group allegedly seeking his ouster.
courtesy of MANILA BULLETIN
by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Raymund F. Antonio
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