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Duterte gives MP two thumbs up

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (front row 2nd R) gestures next to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (front row 2nd L) after Philippines' Manny Pacquiao beat Argentina's Lucas Matthysse during their world welterweight boxing championship bout at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mohd RASFAN

KUALA LUMPUR – Moments after Michael Buffer formally announced that Manny Pacquiao had dethroned Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse on a seventh-round stoppage, the predominantly Filipino crowd chanted the name of President Duterte, who watched the Filipino legend in action from a VIP box Sunday at the Axiata Arena.

“Du-ter-te, Du-ter-te, Du-ter-te,” the crowd hollered as the popular Philippine president came into full view with newly-elected Malaysian Prime Minster Mahathir Mohammad next to him.

From a distance, two sections from where Duterte sat, Pacquiao gave him a look as though telling him that he had completed a mission and he wanted to know if he had done good.

The President motioned that it was indeed mission accomplished.

Duterte gave him two thumbs up.

Duterte arrived late Saturday night from the Philippines and his overnight visit was not only intended to watch Pacquiao win a world title but speak with Mahathir on the matters of security in the Asean region.

Even after the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight, security remained tight as guards cordoned off some areas of the venue since Duterte and Mahathir were still meeting.

The Chief Executive’s presence overshadowed the attendance of other political bigwigs who flew in to see Pacquiao fight.

Among those who were at ringside were Sen. Tito Sotto, congressmen Lito Atienza, Toby Tiangco and Bingbong Crisologo, Chavit Singson and former police head Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, formerly the national police chief. (Nick Giongco)