Controversial Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte spent a night in Auckland after a long flight from Peru.
Speculators say the Philippine president was trying to avoid a stop-over in America. Whatever his reasons were, no one can stop a head of state from coming to New Zealand.
The Filipino President is dubbed as the Punisher, or the Trump of the east because of the many controversies surrounding his presidency. His hard-line war on drugs puts him on top of the list of Human Rights violators and draws condemnation from many countries including New Zealand.
He has even been likened to Hitler by some, but for the Filipino-Kiwis here he is very popular and is warmly welcomed.
The Filipino President’s security is always on high alert because of his war on drugs in the Philippines and he has become the target of many assassination plots.
In the Philippines, if someone puts his hand on the President’s shoulder or around the shoulder, you get tackled by his presidential security team. But yesterday he relaxed that rule a bit.
The Filipino-Kiwis, including a friend of mine who managed to escape work and other prior commitments just to see him at the Langham Hotel, were clearly rewarded. He chatted with them, shook hands and of course obliged with the mandatory selfies.
He may be hated by many, but for the Filipinos here in New Zealand, he is the man that brings change and can end rampant drug abuse and government corruption in their country of origin.
The very reason they fled their own country and chose to settle in New Zealand.