LOOK: Duterte, Sharon Cuneta dine in Malacañang


Posted at Mar 21 2018 08:47 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2018 05:22 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte and actress Sharon Cuneta dined at the Malacañang Palace on Tuesday. 

Photos shared by Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go showed a smiling Cuneta seated between him and Duterte. 

Cuneta also shared photos of the encounter on Instagram.

Duterte earlier said that he is grateful for the "many things" Cuneta has done for him and his family. He said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is an avid fan of the megastar.

"May you live for a thousand years," he told Cuneta. 

Cuneta, a self-confessed fan of the President, said she will treasure his message forever.

She added that she will one day sing for him his favorite song, Freddie Aguilar's "Anak." 

Cuneta is the wife of Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party, who has been a staunch critic of the President's policies, particularly the violent war on drugs. 

Duterte earlier dubbed Pangilinan as his "friend" and said he "owed" the senator. 

"Pangilinan is my friend at may utang na loob ako sa kanya. Si Inday (Sara), when she was [in] Grade 6, Grade 5, sabi ko: ‘Anak, anong gusto mong birthday gift?’ Sabi niya ‘gusto ko magkasama kami ni Sharon Cuneta,'" he said. 

Pangilinan, meanwhile said there was no problem with Duterte's dinner with Cuneta, noting the President's friendship with the singer's late father Pablo, and her brother Chet. 

"Walang problema sa akin dun. Ang differences namin ng Pangulo trabaho lang at hindi personal," he said in a statement.

The Liberal Party president added that he and Duterte have known each other since 1999 and that the then-Davao City mayor helped with his senatorial campaign in 2001 and 2007. 

"Matagal din kaming magkakila ni Pangulo mula pa nung 1999 at natulungan din niya ako nung 2001 at 2007 nung kandidato ako bilang senador at natulungan ko rin naman ang Davao City sa pamamagitan ng ibat ibang projects," Pangilinan said.

Duterte has rarely criticized Pangilinan. One of the few instances was when he criticized the senator’s law, the Juvenile Justice Act, for supposedly producing generations of youth offenders who grew up without respect for the law.

The President brought this matter up during his Philconsa speech, saying Pangilinan was the “singular person in this country who is responsible for all of this now,” referring to the supposed adverse effects triggered by the Pangilinan law.