Duterte peace adviser meets Pope Francis
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte's chief peace adviser, Secretary Jesus Dureza, met Pope Francis on Wednesday, January 18, during a trip to the Vatican.
Dureza, who is in Rome for the 3rd round of talks with Filipino communist rebels, posted Facebook photos of his meeting with Francis.
It is customary for the pontiff to entertain foreign officials during his Wednesday general audience, which is open to the public.
On Facebook, Dureza recounted telling Francis, "Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness."
He said that the Pope replied, "I will also bless your President."
On Wednesday, Dureza also said Duterte wrote a letter to Francis to personally thank him for visiting the Philippines in January 2015.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr handed Duterte's letter to the Pope on Wednesday, Dureza confirmed to Palace reporters.
Dureza flew to Rome for the 3rd round of talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, set to begin on Thursday, January 19. – Rappler.com