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Duterte kept 5-hour NSC meeting lively, says Recto

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President Duterte can be focused one moment and funny the next. It is both educational and entertaining. This guy’s thought process is good. He knows when to summarize points and where to shepherd the discussion.

This accolade did not come from his political allies but from Senate Minority Leader Ralph G. Recto, grandson of the late nationalist Sen. Claro M. Recto.

Recto gave to Senate media a seven-paragraph description on what happened during a five-hour National Security Council (NSC) meeting among President Duterte, four former Philippine presidents and Congress leaders, including Recto himself, at Malacañang last Wednesday afternoon.

“To break the monotony of long meetings, yesterday (last Wednesday) was almost five hours long, he has this comedian’s gift of timing on when to crack jokes,’’ Recto said.

“He gave great inputs, and with his humor, in-house entertainment as well,’’ he added.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, leader of the Senate six-man delegation to the NSC meeting, said the meeting was “very successful, very productive and very long.’’

“The atmosphere was serious but then the President has his way of lightening the atmosphere,’’ he said.

Without giving details of the meeting, Pimentel said the key topics discussed were West Philippine Sea (a United Nations arbitral decision favoring the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China), the road map to peace with the Minda-nao secession and the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front), and war against drugs.

Asked to comment or describe the atmosphere last Wednesday between two political enemies- Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Simeon Aquino III Pimentel simply replied: “I did not notice.’’

The two other former Presidents are Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada.

Pimentel said that the four former Presidents, “with their experience and the past inputs that they have accepted are obtained, they have wisdom.’’

He said discussions during the NSC meeting were “free-flowing, very productive. it’s a consultative process being a democracy.’’

The Senate chief said there were ideas picked up during the meeting and he plans to discuss with his colleagues for possible legislative interventions. (MARIO CASAYURAN)