- Neophyte Senator Leila de Lima said she was surprised when President Rodrigo Duterte approached her to shake her hand before he delivers his SONA
- The senator said the president’s gesture flattered her
- The former Justice Secretary said all she managed to say to the president was “hi, sir”
Senator Leila De Lima said she was surprised when President Rodrigo Duterte stopped and shook her hand before he made his way to the podium of the House of Representative to deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
De Lima, who was seated at the row of tables reserved for senators, said she did not expect that the president would approach her.
“I was surprised noong nasa harap ko mismo [when he was there in front of me]. Nag-detour siya [he made a detour]. He approached me. He smiled and offered his hand. So , I shook his hand,” the neophyte senator said in an interview after the president’s over two-hour SONA at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City.
The former Justice Secretary said all she managed to say to the president was “hi, sir.”
“He didn’t say anything. He just smiled at me,” she added.
GMA News Online noted that the incident drew laughter from the crowd.
De Lima, who used to chair the Commission on Human Rights, is a staunch critic of President Duterte. The two have repeatedly tangled in the past over the president’s alleged links with DDS (Davao Death Squad), an alleged vigilante group responsible for the summary executions of petty criminals in Davao City, when he was still the mayor of the city.