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Steven Seagal meets Duterte, amused as PHL leader says he once trained in karate

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By JO ERLINDA NEBRES

 

 

Hollywood action star, producer, director, and martial artist Steven Seagal has called on  President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang.

 

And judging from reports, photos and videos that came out after their meeting, Seagal visibly enjoyed his meeting with the unorthodox leader.

 

In one of the photos, the smiling actor and the President were seen doing the Chief Executive’s trademark fist pose.

 

In another photo, President Duterte and Seagal are shown doing the signature pose with other officials and guests.

 

The officials and guests included Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Council for Philippine Affairs (COPA) Secretary General Pastor Saycon,  Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Narvacan, former Ilocos Sur governor and now Councilor Luis Singson, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.

  

Seagal, 65, a native of Michigan but holds American, Russian and Serbian citizenship, flew in to be one of the judges of the Miss Earth pageant on Nov. 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

 

While in the Philippines, Seagal, who is an expert in Aikido, Karate, Judo, Kendo and Shito-ryu, will be scouting for locations for his new movie.

 

President  Duterte received Steven Seagal in a courtesy call in Malacañang on October 12.

 

Seagal, 65, was accompanied by former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson during his meeting with the President. Seagal’s new movie is about illegal drugs and other crimes.

 

Telling Seagal that movies are a reflection of life, President Duterte reiterated his strong stance against illegal drugs because it enslaves people to a form of synthetic chemical. He also told the American actor that he used to have karate lessons.

 

Drug trade and production devastated many societies in Latin America, particularly Mexico, and the President said he does not want the Philippines to suffer the same fate.

 

Prior to meeting Steven Seagal, President Duterte received artist Freddie Luna Cruz. Cruz, the great grandson of national artist Juan Luna, presented a portrait of the President, which he painted last year when the Chief Executive assumed office. Cruz was accompanied by Presidential Consultant for Education Jose David Lapuz.

 

Seagal is in the country to scout a location for the sequel of 1988 film "Above the Law." The 80s film featured the story of a cop (Seagal) whose "routine drug-trafficking investigation leads to an international conspiracy."

 

It is not actually the first visit of the Hollywood actor. More than a year ago, he was in Manila on a “business trip” details of which to this day has not been made public.

 

Seagal’s first visits to the country were during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos and then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

 

As was in his last visit, Seagal was again welcomed by his friend, former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, who accompanied him to the welcome party hosted by the Miss Earth Organization for the international delegates of the Miss Earth pageant at the Carousel Mansion in Mandaluyong City, reported Edwin Sallan of Interaksyon.com.

 

During the event, Lorraine Shuck, executive vice president of Carousel Productions which runs the Miss Earth and Miss Earth Philippines pageants, announced that Seagal will be a judge at the 17th edition of Miss Earth pageant on November 4.

 

Philippine television networks showed Seagal with the Miss Earth candidates in a visit in  Manila’s former Spanish district of Intramuros.

 

Lately, Seagal hogged the headlines when former world boxing champion George Foreman challenged him to a boxing bout.

 

It was not known if the actor accepted the challenge.

 

Seagal is best known for a string of blockbuster action movies from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, which included “Above The Law,” “Hard to Kill,” “Marked for Death,” “Out for Justice,” “Under Siege,” and “On Deadly Ground.”

 

He was one of the world’s top action stars until the late 1990s when he started to star, producer and sometimes write films that were released direct-to-video and more recently as video-on-demand.

 

Hollywood reports showed that this year, Seagal has two films already in post-production, “Attrition” and “Above The Law 2,” a sequel to his 1988 debut blockbuster.

 

Last year, the American actor who now lives in Moscow flew to Manila, Cebu and Boracay purportedly to look for location sites for the filming of another movie.

 

Seagal flew in via a Cathay Pacific Airlines flight and was welcomed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 by then Terminal Manager Octavio “Bing” Lina and former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, his host.

 

The actor described former President Arroyo as a friend and was disheartened when he learned that she was at that time under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

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