MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte seemed delighted with the rapport he has established with his "idol," Russian President Vladimir Putin, during their much-anticipated bilateral meeting last Saturday, November 19.
"You know, we have become fast friends, President Putin and President Xi Jinping," Duterte said during a press conference on Sunday, November 20 (Monday, November 21, Manila time).
"Mukhang parang magkakilala na kami nang matagal, and even the way we pat each other's hand in a handshake," he recalled. (It's like we've known each other for a long time, and even the way we pat each other's hand in a handshake.)
Duterte was surprised that the usually poker-faced Putin kept smiling during their meeting.
"Ang sabi ng mga sa news niyan hindi raw tumatawa 'yan eh (According to news reports, he doesn't laugh). But he was smiling all along," shared the Philippine President.
"Sabi niya, 'Huwag kang makalimot punta ng Russia kaya may ano inireserba ako para sa iyo.' 'Totoo ka?' Baril," shared Duterte.
(He said, "Do not forget to visit Russia. I reserved something for you there." "You're telling the truth?" He meant a gun.)
Duterte said he and Putin share a passion for collecting guns and hunting.
He is likely to accept the Russian President's invitation but asked that the visit take place "not on a wintry night" because he is not fond of cold climates.
Aside from meeting with Putin, Duterte also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. About his rapport with Xi, Duterte said, "It's something that you feel. Kasi 'yung tawa ano na eh maluwang, maluwang ang tawa (When we laugh together, it is a comfortable laugh)."
Before Duterte's Peru trip, he had said he would be the "first to join" a "new world order" dominated by Russia and China, preferring this to a world order dominated by the United States.
Duterte has been vocal about his contempt for the US, calling the superpower a "bully" and bristling from concerns raised by US President Barack Obama and other American officials over his drug war. – Rappler.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.