Two days after President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Senator Leila de Lima revealed that she actually wasn't expecting the president to personally approach her and shake her hand at the assembly.
"I was surprised. He didn't say anything. He just looked at me straight in the eye, with a little smile—and so I smiled [back] and I could only say, 'Hi sir,'" De Lima told Philstar. "I took it positively, in the sense that it could be a warm, friendly gesture, sort of an icebreaker. He tried to dispel some notion that we are mortal enemies."
The former Commission on Human Rights chair and Justice Secretary has repeatedly criticized Duterte's public statements about extrajudicial killings. Most recently, De Lima asked the Senate to investigate the rampant manslaughter under the new administration.
De Lima sees the president as an open-minded individual who is willing to agree to disagree on their issues. "By that gesture, he was able to show also na hindi niya ako pine-personal kahit na hindi kami nagkakasundo sa ilang mga seryosong bagay," she was quoted by GMA News Online.
During his first SONA, Duterte warned human rights advocates not to use human rights as a shield to protect criminals whose actions destroy the country.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.
*Minor edits have been made by the FHM.com.ph editors.