MANILA - Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza on Thursday belied claims that former President Benigno Aquino III snubbed his predecessor, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, at the National Security Council (NSC) in Malacañang.
Dureza said Aquino had no opportunity to shake Arroyo's hand because he was immediately ushered to his spot beside former President Fidel Ramos, which was far from Arroyo.
Dureza explained that this was because former President Joseph Estrada arrived immediately after Aquino.
"Pagdating ni President Noy, immediately, we guided him to that side, kaya ang na-handshake lang niya si FVR na malapit sa kanya. And then dumating sa side si Erap. Hinawi namin dahil nagmamadali na," he said.
LOOK: Past, present presidents meet in Malacanang
President Rodrigo Duterte, Arroyo and Ramos were already in Malacañang when Aquino arrived.
Dureza and former Ambassador Jun Paynor assisted the former presidents in the photo opportunity before the NSC meeting.
It was the first time that Aquino and Arroyo attended the same function since the Pampanga congresswoman was cleared by the Supreme Court (SC) of plunder in connection with the case of alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds filed by the previous administration.