Palace: President unaware of Ayungin harassment incident
Malacañang is standing by President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks that he was unaware on the reported harassment of Filipino soldiers by Chinese forces in Ayungin Shoal last May.
“I will have to go by what the President says. You heard what he said. I am the spokesperson. I can’t say anything else other than what the President said,” Presidential Spokesperson Harrry Roque said in a Palace briefing on Thursday.
The President on Thursday said it was his first time to hear about the harassment of Filipino soldiers in Ayungin by Chinese forces after a reporter asked him about the incident.
“That’s the first time I’ve heard of it. It would be dangerous for me to answer questions without really having the slightest idea of what it is all about,” he said in a media briefing upon his arrival from Seoul Korea on Tuesday night.
Duterte’s answers contradicted the statements of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who said the President was briefed about the harassment of Filipino soldiers in Ayungin.
Asked about their conflicting statement, Roque said, “I go by what the President says, please. You heard what he said. I can’t contradict the President’s statement being his spokesperson.”
Pressed if the President was indeed briefed on the incident, Roque did not give a categorical answer but said he would “clarify” the matter with the President on Thursday afternoon at the inauguration of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 in Lapu-Lapu City.
“I will clarify this afternoon,” he said. /muf
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