Duterte falls in line in Malacañang buffet
MANILA, Philippines — When President Duterte walked to the buffet table while surrounded by Presidential Security Group (PSG) officers, nobody expected that he was going to fall in line and wait his turn.
In a viral photo posted by the Presidential Communications Office, Duterte is shown standing behind a string of men patiently waiting to collect their dinner in a fellowship party at Malacañang. The post quickly gathered positive feedback from netizens lauding the 16th President of the Philippines' humility.
In a phone interview with Rappler, lawyer Lloyd del Socorro, the person being held in the shoulders by Duterte in the viral photo, told the story behind the snap.
Socorro said that the president was being stormed by the guests for "selfies," as he was walking toward the buffet table while he was surrounded by the PSG. Del Socorro just kept to his own and did not hope to get a selfie of his own because of the swarm of people.
What happened next changed his entire evening.
“I thought he was just going to pass by kasi parang hinahawi ng PSG (yung daan). Nagulat ako na nasa likod ko na siya,” he recalled. (I thought he was just going to pass by because the PSG was clearing the way. I was surprised that he went behind me.)
Wanting to show respect for the president, he asked Duterte to go ahead of him but he recounted that Duterte replied saying “No, no, no, bakit ako ang mauuna? Stay in line. Ikaw dapat ang mauna, this is a free country.” (No, no, no, why should I go first? Stay in line. You should go first, this is a free country.)
And that was when Duterte held him by the shoulders to turn him to face in front, just in time for the photograph. Del Socorro then took the chance to have his own selfie with the president.
“I was really surprised that he fell in line,” del Socorro shared. “Everybody expected that he would cut the line. He was very humble and down to earth.” – Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong is a student of the Ateneo de Manila University and a Rappler intern.