They may not agree on a lot of things and issues (well, no two people can agree on everything!) but all four most recent former presidents of the Philippines have agreed to set aside their differences and personal issues to attend the National Security Council (NSC) meeting in Malacañang chaired by incumbent president, Rodrigo Duterte.
While this is not a rare occurrence, especially because all former presidents are automatic members of the council, the meeting held today, July 27, 2016 marks the first time that all the former presidents meet in one place with Duterte (because former Pres. Benigno Aquino III skipped the Duterte’s first SONA).
The four former presidents were also seated beside each other, although not in the order of their terms – and with former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo noticeably seated farthest from Pres. Aquino. Seated in between the two ‘enemies’ are former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos and former Pres. Joseph Estrada.
According to Update.PH, aside from the former presidents, the NSC is also automatically comprised of “vice president, the senate president, house speaker, majority and minority leaders of both the senate and the house of representatives, chairpersons of the two houses of congress involved in national security concerns and various members of the cabinet.”
As chair of the NSC, it was Pres. Duterte who convened the council for urgent issues pertaining to matters of national security, including the results of the arbitration case the country filed (and won) against China. So, is there a need for people to worry? Well, not really.
“Convening the National Security Council is one first right move that any president facing some complex security problems emanating from external and internal threats that our country is facing should take,” explained Senator Panfilo Lacson who hailed Duterte’s decision to convene the council for an emergency meeting early into his term.