By Benjamin Nathaniel T. Bondoc and Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, PHILIPPINES, June 30 (PNA) — The former mayor of the southern city of Davao, Rodrigo Roa Duterte formally took his oath on Thursday noon as the Philippines’ 16th chief executive.
Duterte replaced outgoing Pres. Benigno Aquino III who arrived around 10:25 a.m. in Malacañang.
The two met for over 30 minutes at the President’s Hall Sala before Aquino was given departure honors at the Palace Grounds.
After the final military honors highlighted by 21-gun salute was given for Aquino, the incoming and outgoing leaders of the country talked again very briefly before Duterte escorted his predecessor to the vehicle that brought Aquino to his residence at Times Street in Quezon City.
After the singing of national anthem and a joint prayer, veteran singer Freddie Aguilar sang Duterte’s campaign jingle “Duterte para sa Tunay ng Pagbabago” to the tune of Aguilar’s famous song “Ipaglaban Mo.”
Then incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon read the Joint Resolution No. 1 of the Congress, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, proclaiming Rodrigo Duterte and Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo as winners of the presidential and vice presidential elections last May 9, 2016.
In a simple ceremony attended by around 600 guests at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang Palace, Duterte was sworn in by Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, with his left hand placed on top of the Bible held by his youngest daughter, Veronica.
The oath-taking was witnessed by Duterte’s children, Paolo, Sarah, and Sebastian.
Among the guests present during the ceremony were former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
After taking his oath as President, President Duterte administered the mass oath-taking of his Cabinet members.
The new President also met with members of the Diplomatic Corps led by new Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Perfecto Yasay at the President’s Hall. The President offered a toast to which the Papal Nuncio delivered a response.
Living up to his promise to hit the ground running right after his inauguration, President Duterte held his first meeting with his Cabinet members at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room before concluding the inauguration day with a tour of the Presidential Museum and Library.
Duterte, winning by a landslide victory in the May polls, is the first Philippine president from Mindanao.