Palace: Honeylet Avanceña in NYC on ‘personal trip’
President Rodrigo Duterte’s partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña is on a “personal trip” to New York after being invited to an event by United States first lady Melania Trump, Malacañang said yesterday.
“Madame Cielito Avanceña is on a personal trip to NY to attend an event upon the invitation of First Lady of the US, Madame Melania Trump,” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
Melania is hosting events this week in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, a major gathering of world leaders. She dined with the spouses of world leaders at the UN, where she spoke out against bullying.
Abella did not specify which event Avanceña attended.
An ABS-CBN report quoted Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar as saying that Avanceña was not part of the country’s official delegation to the UN General Assembly, and was in New York to join meetings as part of her advocacy work.
Malacañang had not responded as of press time to queries on what Avanceña’s advocacies were.
Avanceña, with whom the President has a daughter, is no stranger to diplomatic gatherings, having joined Mr. Duterte in official events to welcome foreign leaders in the Philippines. She also accompanied him on several foreign trips.
Mr. Duterte skipped the UN gathering to focus on domestic matters, such as the conflict in Marawi, the palace said earlier.
The head of the Philippine delegation to the high-level UN meeting is Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson, a rabid supporter of Mr. Duterte, is also in New York. She said in a post on her Facebook page that she was there “to cover and to support” Cayetano at the UN.
Mr. Duterte has made no secret of his gripes against the UN, blasting the world body for expressing concerns about the alleged extrajudicial killings in his administration’s war against illegal drugs.
He had hurled curses at the UN and accused it of interfering in Philippine affairs. He had also said the UN could not even solve crises in the Middle East and Africa.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.