What Leila told Duterte in surprise handshake
If you were surprised by the pre-speech handshake between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Leila de Lima during Monday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), so was the latter.
“I was so surprised when Duterte shook my hand on his way to the rostrum,” Liberal Party (LP) member De Lima told ANC Headstart Tuesday (July 26). A video clip of the moment saw “Digong” walk by the senators’ section at the House plenary during the joint session. When he caught the former Justice Secretary on the corner of his eye, he turned, smiled and give her a handshake.
He gave De Lima one more look as he continued to walk on. “The only thing I could say was, ‘Hi, Sir’,” the lady politiko recounted. De Lima only had good things to say about the president as far as the handshake was concerned.
“It was a warm, friendly gesture. I appreciate it. It was an ice breaker of sorts… [It] showed people that we do not take things personally,” she said.
The two have butted heads and exchanged barbs in the past, particularly before the May elections when Duterte was being linked to extrajudicial killings in his capacity as Davao City mayor. De Lima is also a former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair.