‘Starstruck Schoolboy’ Rodrigo Duterte Meets ‘Idol,’ Russian Strongman Putin

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is receiving some light mockery in national media after meeting Russian strongman Vladimir Putin over the weekend, an exchange Duterte giddily described as concluding with Putin promising to give Duterte a gun as a gift if he visits Russia. “Sounding like a starstruck schoolboy who just met his idol, the Philippine leader gushed about his initial interactions with Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit,” the Philippine Inquirer reported Monday. Both world leaders were in Lima, Peru, to attend the conference, the first face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state since Duterte assumed his nation’s presidency in June. Duterte went on at length to reporters about Putin’s laughter: “It’s like… The way…It’s something that you feel. Because his laugh is big. He has a wide laugh. His laugh is wide,” he said. The Inquirer described Duterte as “uncharacteristically at a loss for words.” “According to news reports, he does not laugh. But he was smiling all along,” Duterte said of Putin. “He said ‘do not forget to visit Russia. I reserved something for you there.’ ‘True?’ ‘Gun.’ He loves guns.” Duterte added that he joked to Putin, “pare [buddy], don’t tell this to the media of