Duterte seen uneasy at PH Air Force anniversary
CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Philippines—Apparently still learning the protocols that come with the office, President Rodrigo 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.
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 maong pants [jeans]),” said a teacher sitting at the back of reporters here.
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, 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 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 flyby of aircraft in formation.
The President did not mix with the crowd of well-wishers during his first visit to the PAF complex here. Members of the Presidential Security Group kept them at bay.
To some people in the audience, Duterte was candid, frank and fearless after he named five retired and active police generals as alleged protectors of illegal drugs syndicates. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.