Duterte, Gibo Teodoro hold closed-door meeting in Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte held a closed-door meeting with former defense secretary and presidential candidate Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro Jr in Malacañang on Tuesday, August 15.

One-on-one meetings with the President are rare. On this occasion, the meeting was closed even to Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, according to a Palace source.

Malacañang also did not release photos of the meeting, as is usually the case for presidential events included in schedules released to media.

Before he met with Teodoro, Duterte met with the former defense chief's wife, former Tarlac 1st District representative Monica "Nikki" Prieto-Teodoro. She handed over to the President a donation for the military, in the presence of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año.

Duterte had twice wooed Teodoro, who used to be his lawyer, to be part of his Cabinet. The first time he asked Teodoro to head the Department of National Defense (DND) was back in May 2016, weeks before he took his oath as President. 

The last time Teodoro met with the President was in August, when Duterte reiterated the offer, since the Chief Executive planned to appoint Delfin Lorenzana to an ambassadorial post. He later named Lorenzana as defense chief after Teodoro again declined the offer.

Duterte, however, has openly expressed admiration for Teodoro, calling him "talented," "brilliant," and someone who "carries himself very well." Before running for president in 2010, Teodoro served as Tarlac representative and as the defense chief of the Arroyo administration.

Their meeting comes as the President mulled an "alternative solution" on who will fill the post of interior secretary given a law barring Año, his choice for the job, from taking on the role within a year of his retirement.  The AFP chief retires in October.

Other guests the President entertained that day are Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Lanao del Sur Representative Ansaruddin Adiong, Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Marawi crisis management committee.

Pimentel turned over to Duterte a donation of binoculars for the AFP. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.