PRESIDENT Duterte got his wish of spending more time with his family, particularly his children and grandchildren, as he spent his 72nd privately and quietly in Davao yesterday.
The President did not have any official engagement and spent most of the day sleeping in his home at the Doña Luisa Subdivision in Davao City until he was roused from sleep by mid-afternoon by his youngest daughter Veronica “Kitty” Duterte and grandchildren, including the newly-born Marko Digong Carpio who has been nicknamed “Stonefish.”
Photos uploaded on social media by lawyer and Presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio showed the children as they embraced and paid their respects on the President whom they roused from sleep. Carpio was also in the photos carrying Stonefish.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said it has been a tradition for Duterte to celebrate his birthday quietly and without fanfare.
On the eve of his birthday last Monday, he welcomed several visitors at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City, among them Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and chief peace negotiator and Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III, and Moro National Liberation Front founding chair Nur Misuari and his wife Tarhata and son Abdulkarim.
The President also received Hungary Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, United States Ambassador Sung Kim and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.
The Chinese ambassador gave Duterte two paintings as a birthday gift – a portrait of the President and his partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña and their daughter Veronica, and a rooster. The President was born under the year of the rooster.
Jianhua also handed the President a letter of invitation for a trip to China. (J. Montemayor, Malaya)