Spokesperson: sorry for long wait to see Duterte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 May) — The camp of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to well-wishers who either waited hours or were not accommodated at the Matina Enclaves Clubhouse on Monday and Tuesday.

Peter Laviña, spokesperson of Duterte, told reporters at the Royal Mandaya Hotel that Duterte’s schedule was very tight. Three days were alloted for the well-wishers in the Clubhouse from Monday to Wednesday but the presumptive President-elect’s schedule lasted till morning of the next day the Wednesday schedule was called off.

He moved to the Marco Polo hotel here on Wednesday night and stayed until Thursday dawn to receive visitors.

“We extend our apologies. We welcome everybody, except that there are protocols and everybody needs to have an appointment. The place was crowded and we had no intention to shoo away anyone. The mayor stayed almost 24 hours,” he said.

Different civil society groups and prominent personalities, comprising celebrities, politicians, business leaders and diplomats, including his future Cabinet members, had been arriving here since Monday to extend their congratulations to Duterte, who led by at least six million votes in the Presidential elections.

Duterte also met with Chinese ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Russian ambassador Igor Khovaev and other diplomats from Japan and Israel.

Among the visitors were lawyers Perfecto Yasay, Vitaliano Aguirre, and Silvestre Bello, Fidel Agcaoili of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), talent manager Annabelle Rama, Aboitiz Family with Aboitiz Power Corp. president Erramon Aboitiz, former Laguna governor ER Ejercito and his cousin Senator JR Ejercito.

Yasay and Aguirre had just been named secretaries of Foreign Affairs and Justice departments, respectively while Bello is head of the peace panel in the negotiations with the NDFP.

Former senator Manny Villar, his wife Senator Cynthia Villar, and son Mark Villar, who was named Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), former Vice President Teofisto Guigona Jr., and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 1st vice chair Ghadzali Jaafar also visited Duterte.

“I was in the holding room for a long time. Many people were there lining up. It was not because we were talking for too long,” Yasay said when asked how long he met with Duterte.

Law student Rikka Buhayang, who along with lawyers Marlisa Gallo, Maryrose Zulueta-Salmorin, and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) 12 director John Maruhom, said they waited for about 10 hours before they met Duterte last Tuesday.

Duterte’s last media briefing with reporters was Monday afternoon. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)