Duterte at 1st NSC meeting: From focused to funny

Duterte at 1st NSC meeting: From focused to funny
Meetings with the highest official of the country are sure to be both 'entertaining' and 'educational', say senators who attended the National Security Council meeting in Malacañang

He may already be in Malacañang but President Rodrigo Duterte remains his usual natural, unassuming, and funny self even in a high-level meeting on urgent national concerns.

On Wednesday, July 27, Duterte convened the National Security Council to discuss, among other things, the recent Hague ruling on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The technical nature of the meeting hardly stopped Duterte from amusing his guests with his trademark jokes. And judging from the feedback of some attendees, they were pleased with Duterte’s brand of entertainment during the 5-hour meeting.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the President made sure the mood was not entirely heavy.

“The atmosphere was serious but then the President has his way of lightening the atmosphere,” Pimentel said on Thursday, July 28.

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said Duterte showed his “gift of timing” when it comes to cracking jokes.

“He can be focused one moment and funny the next. It is both educational and entertaining. He gave great inputs, and with his humor, in-house entertainment as well,” Recto said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said the guests “enjoyed” Duterte’s funny remarks. He said Duterte directed criticisms at his “favorite critic,” which the lawmaker did not identify.

“As usual, as what is always expected of vintage Rody, we enjoyed the ad libs, not to mention the asides and not-so-subtle sniping at his favorite critic (you-know-who),” Lacson said.

Sincerity and substance

Despite the easy-going attitude of the President, he made sure that the meeting would be fruitful.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the President was “very candid” and showed that he really knows the pertinent matters raised in the NSC meeting.

“He was very candid and sincere. He has a full grasp of the issues discussed,” Sotto told Rappler.

Asked if Duterte paid attention to details, Sotto said: “Yes. He also gave weight to the comments of the 4 presidents.” (READ: Aquino, Arroyo attend NSC meeting on Hague ruling and Aquino, Arroyo snub each other at NSC meeting)

Recto and Lacson shared the same observation of the President, commending Duterte’s manner of thinking.

“This guy’s thought process is good. He knows when to summarize points and where to shepherd the discussion,” Recto said.

“The NSC meeting went very well. It had direction, substance, it had consensus and unity of purpose,” Lacson said. – Camille Elemia/Rappler.com

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