Outgoing President Benigno Aquino 3rd has congratulated his successor, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, offering him assistance in any manner even after the end of his term on June 30 so the new government would not have to “reinvent the wheel” during the transition.
It was the first time that Aquino and Duterte spoke on the phone since the tough-talking Davao City mayor won the presidency by a landslide in the May 9 general elections.
In an interview with members of the Malacañang Press Corps during a farewell lunch at a restaurant in Manila, Aquino described his conversation with Duterte as “pleasant.”
“I reiterated the offer to be of assistance, in any and every manner that they need it. And, more or less, it was a pleasant conversation, that’s how it ended,” he said, adding, Duterte did not reject his offer of help.
“Parang natuwa naman siya [Duterte]. Hindi naman tinanggihan at parang pinasalamatan yung alok natin. Sabi ko ano ba matutulong namin sa inyo, sa transition at sa pagkatapos para hindi na kailangan yung parang reinvent the wheel. [It seemed he was happy with the offer. He did not turn it down. I asked him what help we could give in the transition and beyond so that he won’t have to reinvent the wheel],” he added, without elaborating further.
The phone conversation took place when the President-elect’s transition team visited Malacañang on Thursday.
Among those who met with him and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa were incoming Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, executive assistant Christopher “Bong” Go and incoming secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco Jr.
“Members of his staff went to the Executive Secretary [on Thursday]. The Executive Secretary brought them to me. We shared some of our experiences in the past six years [with]them,” Aquino said.
“We went through Malacañang to show them the physical layout and then we proceeded to Malacañang Park, showed them Bahay Pangarap and the various facilities within Malacañang Park and that’s where they got in touch with President-elect Duterte,” he added.
It was on the day after Duterte met with his Cabinet appointees in Manila for the first time since his proclamation.
Without the mayor, the Duterte group visited Malacañang for a largely undisclosed agenda.
But Aquino said both transition teams discussed preparations for Duterte’s inauguration at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall on June 30.
“I don’t know if I can speak [about]the preparations. I think his spokespeople have been talking about their preparations,” he added.
It would be the first presidential inauguration in the Palace since the late President Carlos P. Garcia’s 1957 oath-taking.
Garcia was Vice President to President Ramon Magsaysay and took over as President when Magsaysay died in a plane crash.
The country’s Presidents usually take their oath at the Quirino Grandstand at Luneta (Rizal Park) in Manila.