'No tirade, only exchange of wisdom' at meeting of Presidents | Inquirer News
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‘No tirade, only exchange of wisdom’ at meeting of Presidents

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 02:11 PM July 28, 2016

There were no debates or tirades, just an exchange of wisdom among the former presidents during the National Security Council (NSC) meeting on Wednesday in Malacañang, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Thursday.

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Pimentel said the meeting, which lasted more than five hours, focused on the West Philippine Sea issue, the roadmap to peace with the Moro and communist rebels and the war against illegal drugs.

“It was very successful, very productive and very long,” he said in an interview at the Senate.

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Pimentel said the atmosphere was “serious” but President Rodrigo Duterte had a way of “lightening” the mood.

READ: Duterte meets with ex-presidents at national security meeting

Asked in a separate interview with Radyo Inquirer how the four former presidents—Benigno Aquino III, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Joseph Estrada and Fidel Ramos—interacted with each other during the meeting, the Senate leader said: “Wala naman pong debate among the former presidents. Tinanong lang naman po sila sa inputs nila at diretso naman po sila sa issue. Ganun lang po (There was no debate among the former presidents. They were just asked about their inputs and they were direct about the issues. That’s it).”

READ: NSC meet attended by five Presidents

“Syempre may wisdom po ‘yung former presidents po dati. Wala naman po silang parinig o patira sa kabila. Basta on the issue lang po sila diretso. At saka matipid sila sa pananalita po nila (The former presidents have wisdom. There was no tirade or criticism against other leaders. They were direct on the issues. They were laconic),” he said.

Pimentel said the meeting lasted long because of the President’s habit to tell stories.

“Actually si President Duterte, mahilig kasi magkwento yan. So many times na medyo pahinga muna kami dito sa kwento ng Presidente (President Duterte likes to tell stories. So many times we just hear the President’s stories),” he said.

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Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order, said the meeting had “substance … direction” and “unity of purpose.”

“The NSC meeting went very well. It had direction, it had substance, it had consensus and unity of purpose,” Lacson said in a statement.

“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),” he said but did not elaborate.

Lacson said the “unprecedented” presence of the four former heads of state added to the luster of the occasion, “but not without their own valuable input on what the country needs to do to advance our national interest in regard to the arbitral tribunal ruling on the West Philippine Sea issue, the peace talks and the fight against illegal drugs.” RAM/rga

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Illegal drugs, Joseph Estrada, Moro, National Security Council, NSC, Peace Talks, Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, West Philippine Sea
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