Palace says Cabinet execs in Duterte’s Japan trip not mere ‘decorations’
TOKYO — Malacañang on Tuesday countered the remark issued by the Philippine envoy here that President Rodrigo Duterte brought Cabinet officials, who are part of the government’s 200-member delegation, in his four-day working visit to “reward” them as administration bets ruled the May 13 midterm polls.
“Hindi naman,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a text message. “Puro halos wala sa kampanya ang mga kasamang opisyal. May mga kanya-kanyang trade missions ang mga kasamang gabinete.”
“Hindi po sila dekorasyon sa summit. Trabaho lang ‘yan,” the so-called Little President added.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said he was not aware that this trip was a “reward.”
“I dont know about that,” Lopez said in a text message.
“But every time we travel with the President, we maximize his presence and have him speak to several investments fora, and we conduct deal signing, business matching and networking, round table meetings with PRRD and investors and Secretaries do join as an opportunity to dialogue with the foreign business community,” he added.
“We have never seen this as ‘pabuya’ ?? When we are working day and night just to prepare for all these activities,” he also said.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said this trip was a “working trip.”
“DA is shouldering my trip with only one staff member. I am part of the delegation because there will be issues related to agriculture which PRRD would bring up during the visit, especially tariff on bananas,” Piñol said.
“All that I know is this is a working trip and not a PABUYA as the good Ambassador of Philippine to Japan Jose Laurel V, was quoted by the media,” he added.
On Tuesday, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V told Philippine reporters in a press briefing here that Duterte tagging along Cabinet officials in his third trip to Japan was a “reward” from the President.
Laurel said Duterte’s trip would be paid for by Nikkei, which invited the President to its 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia on May 30-31.
Duterte will arrive here Tuesday night with 16 Cabinet secretaries joining the official delegation.
The Cabinet members joining the President here are:
- Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Department of Foreign Affairs
- Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Department of Finance
- Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Department of Agriculture
- Secretary Mark Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways
- Secretary Karlo Nograles, Secretary to the Cabinet
- Secretary Ramon Lopez, Department of Trade and Industry
- Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Department of Tourism
- Secretary Arthur Tugade, Department of Transportation
- Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Department of Science and Technology
- Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Department of Energy
- Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr., Department of Information and Communications Technology
- Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority
- Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, Presidential Communications Operations Office
- Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., National Security Adviser and Director-General of the National Security Council
- Secretary Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
- Carlito Galvez, Jr., Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity
(Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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