President Duterte shared a light moment with members of the government’s pandemic task force on Monday evening, when he caught Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officer-in-charge (OIC) Director-General Oscar Gutierrez by surprise and asked him if he really did love him.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Food and Drug Administration officer-in-charge Director-General Oscar Gutierrez (RTVM Screenshot)

Duterte’s joke came after Gutierrez, who had just finished giving a presentation about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatments and tests undergoing evaluation by the FDA, referred to him as “Mahal na Presidente” (our beloved President).

In response to Gutierrez’s closing remark, the President asked the former if he really meant it.

“Totoo ka, mahal mo talaga ako (Are you being truthful? Do you really love me)?” Duterte asked the acting FDA director-general, and, for a while there, Gutierrez could have been counting the ways.

The sudden quip of the President drew some chuckle from those who were physically present during the meeting on Monday evening, Jan. 17.

Gutierrez was first taken aback, and could not muster a reply before Duterte, himself, broke the dead air by asking him if he spoke Visayan.

Gutierrez answered: “Kahibalo ko (I understand).”

After Gutierrez confirmed the President’s guess, Duterte said the FDA OIC used a word that gave him away: “ku-an” a term of Proto-Malayo-Polynesian roots which is used as a placeholder name of a person or a thing, which would have been pronounced as “kuwan” by those who spoke Tagalog.

According to Gutierrez, he was actually born and raised in Davao City and finished high school at Ateneo de Davao.

Gutierrez is currently leading the FDA following the resignation of former Director-General Eric Domingo on Jan. 3.

Source: Manila Bulletin (