Christmas came to Malacañang’s Heroes Hall on Tuesday night when President Rodrigo Duterte hosted a party for reporters, cameramen, and photographers assigned to cover the Palace—the first such gathering since Duterte was elected president.
Duterte set the night's tone by explaining that he did not hate the press.
“Never mind about our relations. It’s always adversarial…. Wala naman tayong galit. We do not fight with each other. I do not hate anybody here or else I would not be inviting you to my place,” he said.
“I am not your enemy. Your quest for truth, that is your business, not mine. At the end of the day, it’s not my property. It’s just public interest,” he added.
However, the president also argued that there was always another side to every story.
“Your truth is not my truth and everybody’s truth… There is always two sides of the coin. My truth, your truth, and the public perception,” Duterte said.
Nevertheless, he said he would be glad to be a friend to the press.
Duterte reiterated his views on his relationship with the media in a spiel which ended one of his songs.
“In the meantime, we have work to do. You have your mandate, I have my task. If we happen to meet at a corner and agree, it would be good. But if we find ourselves in disagreement, that is part of our territory," he said.
Duterte had previously lashed out at several news organizations, and had even boycotted the press in his first days in office.
As his practice in more festive gatherings, the president sang a few songs, including his favorites “Ikaw” and “You Raise Me Up".
But for the first time in such a setting, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Bong Go also sang some five songs, one of which he dedicated to the president.
“It's not easy, it's not easy to be Mayor Duterte,” he said before ending his version of Five for Fighting’s “Superman.”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was also in a relaxed mood and sang to the Eraserheads’ “Pare Ko.” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar also sang a couple of songs like “American Pie.”
Other guests at the party were Undersecretaries Mia Reyes and Lorraine Badoy, as well as Assistant Secretaries Jun Loyola and Bam Garcia, all of whom let their guards down despite the media's presence.
Also on Monday night, Duterte hosted a party for bloggers led by Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson at the Malago Clubhouse at the Malacañang Park. Roque, Andanar, Badoy, and Garcia were also present at that event. — DVM, GMA News