Duterte meets lawmakers in Davao, discusses illegal drugs, priority bills
Written by Joyce Ilas, CNN Philippines
Davao City (CNN Philippines) — About two weeks before his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday met with some lawmakers to discuss the state of the country and his corresponding plans.
Two senators, two governors, and 12 congressmen from the incoming majority bloc flew all the way to Davao City to meet with the President.
Among those present were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, and Masbate 3rd District Rep. Scott Davies Lanete.
Also present were Tarlac Governor Susan Yap and Bataan Governor Albert Raymond Garcia.
Tugna said PDP-Laban members invited lawmakers who are joining the incoming majority at the House of Representatives.
“[T]hey invited members of congress who are allied with them who are part of the incoming majority. It’s a courtesy visit,” Tugna explained.
The legislators got a peek at how the President works in his hometown. Duterte, a night owl, met them for about five hours — from around 9:00 Saturday evening to 2:30 Sunday morning.
Angara said the President mostly talked about the illegal drug situation in the country and how he plans to address the issue.
“He mentioned that so many officials are involved. Treason iyon para sa kanya, kasi sila iyong dapat magprotekta pero sila pa naging cause ng paglaganap ng droga sa bansa,” Angara said.
[Translation: “He mentioned that so many officials are involved. That amounts to treason for him, because they are the ones who are supposed to protect the country, but they are the reason for the spread of drugs.”]
Angara said Duterte also asked lawmakers to ensure the passage of the revival of the death penalty. “Talagang seryoso siya doon (death penalty). Naniniwala siya na dapat ibalik.”
[Translation: “He is very serious about it (death penalty). He believes that it should be brought back.”]
Incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez with Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro are co-authoring 17th Congress’ House Bill 01, proposing the restoration of the death penalty.
A brief State of the Nation Address
Although his meeting with the lawmakers lasted for hours, Duterte told them that his first State of the Nation Address will only be 10 minutes long.
After the meeting, Duterte briefly greeted his supporters waiting for him outside the establishment and allowed them to take pictures.
It was already almost three in the morning when the president toured the lawmakers around the Central 911 compound, which houses the communications and emergency response center of the city. Malacañang earlier said that it will launch the 911 emergency hotline nationwide next month.
Both Angara and Tugna agree that Duterte seems different when he is in Davao City, compared to when he is in Manila.
“Parang mas-relaxed siya ngayon. Nasa comfort zone sya dito sa Davao. Better to see him in Davao,” the Senator said. “He’s more relaxed here,” Tugna pointed out.