Breach of protocol? No, it’s just Duterte’s sartorial taste
CLARK FREEPORT—Apparently still learning the protocols that come with the office, President Duterte made several gaffes on Tuesday when he graced the 69th founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) here.
But the crowd relished the President’s unflappable nature.
Mr. Duterte arrived 10 minutes late for the 2 p.m. program at the Haribon Hangar here, where he was received by a welcoming party led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya and PAF chief Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina. After stepping out of a helicopter that landed at the hangar, the President was given full military honors with a 21-gun salute.
“Ay! Naka-maong si Presidente (The President was wearing denim jeans),” said a teacher sitting at the back of reporters here.
Mr. Duterte paired his denim jeans with a barong with sleeves rolled up. Instead of black shoes, he wore a pair of brown leather shoes.
Before the presentation of awards to PAF units and personnel, Mr. Duterte blew a flying kiss in the direction of a television network reporter. Laughter broke out.
He proceeded immediately with his speech, forgetting to put the troops at parade rest (“tikas pahinga”). He was in the middle of his speech when Mr. Duterte ordered them to stand at ease.
When he spoke, he did away with a prepared speech, saying all it had were motherhood statements. The two teleprompters were ignored. The President wielded a piece of paper.
The last blunder took place when the President returned to the podium and thanked the troops once more. He was supposed to ride an open-top vehicle and review the troops which would usher the fly-by of aircraft in formation.