Duterte, Grace Poe 'happy, comfortable' in 1st meeting after polls
MANILA, Philippines – It was the first time for the 2 fierce rivals in the 2016 presidential campaign to meet after the heated elections.
The last time President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Grace Poe talked was on the night of the May 9 elections, when Poe personally called up Duterte to congratulate him ahead of her concession speech.
After 10 months, Duterte and Poe met again at a dinner hosted by the President for members of the Senate majority bloc on Tuesday, March 14.
“Ito ang unang pagkikita namin magmula noong election. Nakita ko sya noong SONA pero di kami nag-usap,” Poe told reporters on Wednesday, March 15. (This is our first meeting after the elections. I saw him during the SONA [State of the Union Address] but we didn't get to talk.)
Now, Poe said she is a “principled ally” of the President.
“I think I’ve proven to be a principled ally of whoever has the right intentions for the country. It depends,” Poe told reporters on Wednesday, March 15.
Poe said their encounter was “light and comfortable.” It's not surprising, as she said she and Duterte always end up joking around when together.
“Masaya naman, very light. Matagal na kami magkakilala, so kumportable. Masasabi kong magaan, masaya ang kwentuhan,” she added.
(It was happy, very light. We've known each other for a long time so we were comfortable. I can say the meeting was light and the conversations were happy.)
“Para sa akin kasi, parating lokohan 'pag kami. So sinabi ko lang sa kanya: Thank you, Mr President for calling me a good person. And he said: Oo, mabait ka naman talaga. Sabi ko ‘minsan.’ Yun naman," she said in jest.
(For me, we always end up joking around. So I just told him: Thank you, Mr President for calling me a good person. And he said: Yes, you really are nice. So I said, 'sometimes.' That's it.)
Only last January, Duterte reiterated his belief that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino citizen despite 2 Supreme Court rulings that cleared the senator’s citizenship.
Duterte had repeatedly said that Poe's questionable citizenship, and the SC's subsequent ruling in her favor, were among the key factors that made him decide to run for president.
But he said he had nothing against Poe, whom he called a “fine lady.”
Asked about the meeting, Poe dismissed claims there was pressure on senators to vote for certain bills.
"Wala, wala namang pinakiusap (No, there was no request). In fact, ‘yung sinasabing there’s pressure to vote on certain measures,wala naman akong narinig na ganun (I didn’t hear anything of that sort),” Poe said.
She refused to divulge other details, invoking the “presidential-executive privilege.” – Rappler.com