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Duterte’s top aide hangs out with Aquino’s former political adviser

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – Change has really come. Even in the current Philippine political landscape, nothing is really permanent.

On Tuesday, a group of high profile political personalities from various political factions have gathered in a hotel somewhere in the nation’s capital.

In a photo obtained by Politiko, it can be seen that former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph is having a good time with no less than Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and actor/die-hard Duterte supporter Philip Salvador.

But one thing that makes the picture quite interesting is the inclusion of Ronald Llamas, the Aquino administration’s number one troubleshooter, hanging out with President Rodrigo Duterte’s top aide.

Llamas, a well-known political strategist previously served as Presidential Political Adviser of former President Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III. He is also one the instrumental figures behind the ouster of Estrada in 2001.

The said picture was taken during the birthday celebration of a public works official, in the person of Undersecretary Roberto Benardo. Bernardo is the current undersecretary for regional operations in Visayas, the National Capital Region (NCR), and MIMAROPA.

It’s still unclear what’s the real purpose of the private gathering aside from Bernardo’s natal day celebration which was hosted by Estrada himself. But a reliable source told Politiko that the group tackled the proposed 318-hectare reclamation of Manila Bay, a pet project of the former chief executive for the city.

Llamas’ role in the negotiation also remained unclear.