MANILA, Philippines – Six years after he took his oath as 16th Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte stepped out of Malacañang before noon on Thursday, June 30, bidding goodbye to his Manila home and office for the past years, and the presidency.
The country’s first president from Mindanao is set to return to his hometown of Davao City on the same day, to attend a thanksgiving concert organized by supporters and allies.
Duterte left the Palace premises around 20 minutes before his successor, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., was whisked to the National Museum for his inaugural ceremony.
Duterte was in Malacañang at around 9:30 am to receive his successor. He and Marcos spoke for around five minutes, in the presence of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, incoming executive secretary Vic Rodriguez, and Duterte’s close aide Senator Bong Go.
Duterte had previously spoken of how he would love the chance to hold a “tête-à-tête” with his successor to talk about governance, share his advice and insights, and discuss his priority programs, like the controversial drug war and pandemic response.
It was not the first time Duterte and Marcos interacted after the 2022 elections. Both men attended incoming vice president Sara Duterte’s inauguration in Davao City. Video footage of the event showed a rather tight-lipped and stiff Duterte beside a more buoyant Marcos. But on inauguration day, Duterte was much warmer towards Marcos, engaging him in conversation often and gesturing enthusiastically.
After the meeting, Duterte and Marcos walked to the Palace grounds for the departure ceremony traditionally held for the outgoing president.
A waiting car took Duterte out of Malacañang, his first time out of the Palace as “citizen Duterte.”
Duterte is set to fly to Davao City via a commercial flight, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told reporters.
Eager to go
Some five months before his last day in office, Duterte said he was eager for this day to come. He even said he had started packing up his belongings and sending them to Davao City.
“I wait the day of turnover, matikman ko rin ‘yung feeling ng outgoing president (I will finally experience how it would be like to be the outgoing president),” he said in early February.
“‘Pag labas ko diyan, ‘pag turnover natin dito, ibigay ko na sa bagong presidente, ang mga sundalo hindi na mag-salute,” he added.
(When I leave those gates behind, when we do the turnover, I will hand the reins to the new president, the soldiers will no longer salute me.)
Unlike other post-EDSA Revolution presidents who called Metro Manila home, Duterte divided his time between Malacañang and his hometown of Davao City. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he regularly flew back to Davao on weekends to be with his family. In Manila, he would reside in Bahay Pangarap, a house on the other side of the Pasig River from Malacañang Palace itself.
After winning all 10 elections he had ever joined, including the presidency, Duterte said he planned to retire from politics. But his longtime aide Senator Go has floated the possibility of Duterte serving as his consultant. The outgoing chief executive himself has said he may speak out in public about pressing national issues.
Duterte returns to Davao City as the patriarch of a still very much active political dynasty. Aside from his eldest daughter taking on the vice presidency, his youngest son Sebastian is Davao City mayor while his eldest, Paolo, is a congressman of the city’s first district.
Duterte’s presidency was defined by his heavy-handed approach to illegal drugs and dissent, as well as success in passing tax reform, liberalizing rice imports, and other economic policies. For Rappler’s special coverage on Duterte’s legacy, his accomplishments, failures, and impact on the country, check this page.
Until his last week in office, controversy hounded him, with the International Criminal Court prosecutor announcing a request to reopen a probe into Duterte’s drug war. – Rappler.com
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