Kiko Pangilinan says no issue with Sharon Cuneta, Duterte meeting

Camille Elemia
'Walang problema sa akin do'n. Ang differences namin ng Pangulo, trabaho lang at hindi personal,' says the senator

NO PROBLEM. Opposition senator Francis Pangilinan says he has no problem with his wife Sharon Cuneta meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo from SAP Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has no problem with his wife, actress Sharon Cuneta, meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Cuneta and her brother Chet had dinner with Duterte and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse on Tuesday night, March 20.

Duterte and Cuneta’s late father Pablo Cuneta were good friends, as both were mayors in the 1980s and 1990s – Duterte in Davao City and the Cuneta patriarch in Pasay City.

“Walang problema sa akin do’n. Ang differences namin ng Pangulo, trabaho lang at hindi personal,” Pangilinan told reporters in a message. (I think there’s no problem with that. The differences between me and the President are all about work and nothing personal.)

“Tuloy lang ang trabaho natin at tuloy din ang walang personalan,” he added. (We will just continue our job, nothing personal.)

Pangilinan is the president of the Liberal Party (LP), which has been on the receiving end of Duterte’s tirades. The senator supported LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II in the 2016 elections.

Pangilinan said he has long known the President and added that Duterte even helped him with previous senatorial campaigns. He, in turn, gave projects to Davao City.

“Matagal din kaming magkakilala ni Pangulo, mula pa noong 1999. At natulungan din niya ako no’ng 2001 at 2007 no’ng kandidato ako bilang senador at natulungan ko rin naman ang Davao City sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang projects,” he said.

(The President and I have long known each other, since 1999. He also helped me with my 2001 and 2007 senatorial campaigns and I also helped Davao City through various projects.)

In a post on Instagram, Cuneta shared a photo of her and Pangilinan. She said she excitedly told her husband about how much fun she and her brother had with the President, who ate sardines for dinner.

She also shared that Duterte said he respects Pangilinan “even if they disagree on certain things.”

“He’s so chill and happy that Kuya and I are happy! ‘Di naman personal ang ‘di nila pagkakasundo sa pulitika (Their differences are not personal),” Cuneta said.

“Politics? Temporary. My dad was the President’s good friend. Hey – deal closed! Blessed to have a hubby like my dork,” she added.

Another relative of Cuneta, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, is a close ally of Duterte. Pangilinan and Sotto are on opposing sides in the Senate.

Here are some photos that Cuneta posted online:

– Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com