Roxas chief campaigner to Duterte: He was very personable, spoke without drama

Chief campaigner among OFW for Mar Roxas, CEO and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis on Friday shared her impression of President Rodrigo Duterte after their first meeting.

“My impression has evolved. He’s not as bad as I thought he would be.”

Lewis stated that the man she met was a local leader who is able to govern effectively, a person of humility and humor.

“He was very personable, spoke without drama,” she added

Lewis traveled to Davao – her first visit to the area — on Friday, June 24. She was with a 25-man appointment from the U.S.- Philippines Society, a private gathering including business officials and representatives. The meeting was set for 5 p.m.; Duterte arrived 30 minutes late.

“When he appeared, the first thing he said was, ‘I apologize for being late. I was with the woman who was held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf….I’m Rody.’ He impressed me that he would apologize. He shook all of our hands. We introduced ourselves as he went around the table. After shaking our hands, he asked ‘Saan ako uupo.’ He sat facing Manny Pangilinan,” Lewis told.

His first remark was to rib Pangilinan. ‘I know you are not happy with my new DENR secretary.’ “Tawanan kaming lahat,” Lewis added.

Duterte spoke for about 45 minutes. He reiterated how corruption is the biggest challenge for the Philippines. That is why, he said, he is “very careful about whom I select to serve the government,” according to Lewis.

Lewis said she was impressed by how efficiently the city of Davao has been run. Duterte was mayor for seven terms for a total of 22 years.

“I was very very amazed at how clean Davao was. Not an empty soda can, not a candy wrapper, not a cigarette butt did I see anywhere,” she said

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