Duterte dismisses envoy’s remark Japan trip a post-election ‘reward’
TOKYO — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed the remark of the Philippine ambassador here that the Japan trip of the Cabinet officials was a “reward” from the chief executive, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters here, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the comment of Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V was “innocently made.”
Laurel told reporters in a press briefing here on Tuesday that Cabinet officials are joining Duterte’s trip here as a “reward” from the President who is “elated” with the victory of administration candidates in the midterm elections.
“I think the good ambassador was only innocently speculating or could have been grossly misinformed,” Panelo said.
Asked if the President was angry with the ambassador’s comment, he said: “Nagagalit ba ‘yun? Nagagalit lang yun sa enemies of the state.”
He said there was no reason to replace or fire Laurel over his comment even as Panelo had earlier denied the trip was a reward.
“It is worth mentioning that Cabinet members were prohibited by the President to campaign for the administration candidates during the last elections,” he said.
“It is therefore sans logic that they can be rewarded when they were disallowed from contributing to the reason or cause for the grant of reward,” he added.
Executive Secretary Salvador Media also said the Cabinet officials joining the President’s trip here were not “decorations.”
“Hindi po sila dekorasyon sa summit. Trabaho lang ‘yan,” Medialdea said.
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