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‘Once our teams find an appropriate time’

Biden invites Bongbong Marcos to Washington

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Joe Biden

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) and US President Joe Biden

MANILA, Philippines — US President Joe Biden has invited President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to Washington, the first foreign head of state to formally extend such a gesture to the country’s newly installed leader.

According to Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff handed  Marcos a personal invitation letter from the American president.

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Emhoff, the husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, led a seven-member delegation from Washington that attended the June 30 inauguration of Marcos. The two officials later had a meeting on Thursday afternoon in Malacañang.

Quoting Biden’s letter to Marcos, Romualdez said: “I hope you can come to Washington once our teams find an appropriate time.”

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“President Marcos responded by saying he hopes to do so as soon as our schedules permit them,” Romualdez told the Inquirer on Saturday.

Contempt judgment

Since Marcos enjoys diplomatic immunity as a head of state, Romualdez said, he could visit Washington without being arrested despite a standing contempt order that for years had prevented him from entering the United States.

In 2012, a US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a contempt judgment against the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his mother Imelda, and their son Ferdinand Jr. for violating an injunction that barred them from dissipating assets of the estate.

The contempt order came after the Marcoses entered into a settlement with the Ramos administration in 1992 and agreed to share their wealth with the government. It was considered a violation of the 1991 decision of the US District Court of Hawaii prohibiting the Marcos family from touching their US assets because these were the source of potential payment of damages to the human rights victims of martial law.

Immunity

In May, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters in Manila that Mr. Marcos would be “welcome” to the United States, again citing his diplomatic immunity.

Weeks before his inauguration, Marcos’ media staff said he was considering going to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly in September.

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