What De Lima thinks of Duterte's handshake

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2016 06:52 PM

Senator Leila De Lima on Tuesday said she appreciates the "warm, friendly" gesture of President Rodrigo Duterte, who shook her hand before he delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

"I appreciated that there was warmth and friendliness, and [it was an] icebreaker of sorts, and to show to the people na wala talagang personalan sa ginagawa naming pareho," she said on ANC's Headstart.

WATCH: Surprise! Duterte greets De Lima 

De Lima said she no longer feels offended by remarks from Duterte after common friends from San Beda told her that Duterte was just doing his job as she was doing hers.

De Lima and Duterte received their law degrees from San Beda College, but she noted that Duterte finished years before her.

She said before Monday's handshake, their interaction was limited to two meetings--first at the height of the investigation on the Davao Death Squad, where she was the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights while Duterte was the mayor; and second during the Senate investigation on rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan when she was justice secretary.

As Duterte approached the rostrum at the Batasang Pambansa to deliver his SONA on Monday, he stopped to shake De Lima's hand.

"Nakalampas na nga siya sa’kin nang konti, at nagulat ako nang biglang bumalik, nag-detour, and then extended his hand without saying anything, he just smiled. And then the only thing that I could say was ‘Hi, Sir.’ That’s all," De Lima recalled.

She added, Duterte even had a "childish smirk" as he was walking away.

Despite the budding friendliness between them, De Lima vows to continue doing her job, including the Senate inquiry she is seeking on the drug-related killings.

"I would of course, push through with that because he knows my position also on those matters. We may not agree, but we cannot be disagreeable. We need not be antagonistic to each other," she said.

"I just have to really fight for my own principles and my own core beliefs and advocacies in life, and in the same manner that he’s doing that. Alam kong prinsipiyo rin niya yan, yung sobrang pagka-obsessed niya against drugs," she added.

Apart from the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee and the Electoral Reforms Committee whose chairmanship she sought, De Lima has also expressed interest in joining the Blue Ribbon Committee. She said, it feels a "natural choice" to join the committee.

She said she has already spoken to Senator Richard Gordon, who will be the chairman of the committee for the 17th Congress.

"I would want to join the blue ribbon because, you know, investigations. It’s a very exciting committee," she said.