MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – It was caught on camera: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was walking with a serious demeanor towards the dais at the Batasang Pambansa (Philippine Congress Building) to begin his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). Then he suddenly stopped, turned back and extended his hand to his number one nemesis Senator Leila De Lima. Then after the brief handshake, he continued on with a naughty smirk on his face.
During a television interview the next day, De Lima said she appreciated the “warm, friendly” gesture of the president. “It was an icebreaker of sorts, and to show to the people na wala talagang personalan sa ginagawa naming pareho,” (there was nothing personel between us) she said on ANC’s Headstart.
The senator and the president have been trading barbs lately, with De Lima saying she will be seeking a legislative probe on the series of killings of drug suspects since the time Duterte took office.
But unknownst to De Lima, the whole thing was scripted by award-winning film director Brillante Mendoza.
Mendoza was tasked to direct the entire SONA proceedings.
Apparently, the recorded “encounter” was going to be part of a new independent film that Mendoza is working on as an official entry to next year’s Cannes Film Festival. The working title of the new film project is “The Punisher and the Fiscalizer.” Sources close to Mendoza told The Adobo Chronicles that the film is going to be a comedy.
Mendoza’ latest film, “Ma’Rosa” was critically acclaimed at the last Cannes Film Festival and won for Jaclyn Jose the Best Actress Award, a first for the Philippines.