Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte greeted each other in what she described as a “cordial” meeting at the military turnover ceremonies on Friday, finally breaking the ice that formed during a bitter election campaign.
After receiving full military honors, Duterte walked to his seat and shook hands with Robredo, even offering her the coconut juice he was about to drink. Robredo, all smiles, politely declined.
The turnover rites took place at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, a day after the two took their oaths of office in separate ceremonies. Duterte held his inauguration at the Malacañang presidential palace while Robredo took her oath at the infamous “Boracay Mansion,” now the Quezon City reception house.
In his remarks, Duterte said he would have preferred to be beside Robredo at the grandstand, but Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was seated between them.
Duterte and Robredo have yet to talk about the new government since winning the polls, indicating a cold relationship between the two highest officials of the land who come from warring political parties.
After the brief encounter, Robredo told reporters that Duterte agreed to have a formal meeting soon.
“Very cordial yung meeting. Nagpaalam ako sa kanya [Duterte] kung pwede akong magpa-set ng schedule or a courtesy visit, sabi niya naman, ‘Anytime,’ so pagbalik ko siguro sa office, `yun `yung aasikasuhin ko na makapag-set kami ng ganoong meeting [I asked for his permission if I can schedule a courtesy visit. He told me, ‘Anytime.’ So when I return to my office, I will work to set that meeting],” the Vice President said.