Duterte admits Russia trip a junket: Presidential plane packed with generals and their wives; cronies asked to chip in
Former President Fidel V. Ramos was spot-on after all in branding the President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to Russia a junket.
Duterte unwittingly admitted that his five-day state visit to meet President Vladimir Putin last May included plenty of freeloaders.
In a speech during the 60th anniversary of the Social Security System Wednesday, Duterte admitted that he invited generals and heir wives to join him on presidential plane as a form of “reward.”
He saw nothing wrong with inviting his military allies to join him on official business because there were plenty of open seats on the presidential plane (Philippine Airlines PR001). He was adamant he didn’t have to commit “corruption” to bankroll his fellow travelers’ costs because he had plenty of friends who contributed money to him.
“I was very lucky in going to Moscow I brought along… and there was a complaint bakit daw maraming military?” said Duterte.
“Alam mo, ‘pag ako ang mag-travel puro pareho kami lahat ng upuan. Walang first class, first class diyan. ‘Yung regional jets ‘yan, there’s no first class, business class. Pero wala ‘yan. Then one trip sa Moscow sinabi ko na, ‘You know, it’s about time that we reward the retireables and their wives’,” said Duterte.
“Kasi ang bayad ko sa eroplano, punuin ko o ako lang, pareho rin. Kung ako lang mag-isa pati magdala ako ng — sana maganda pero…Wala eh, so ganun. ‘Di punuin ko na lang. Binigyan ko totoo. Marami naman akong mahingian. I do not have to commit graft and corruption,” he added.
It was Ramos who publicly called the Russia a junket because it included some government officials who had no official business flying to Moscow on the people’s money. “It now turns out that it was a junket… Some people should have stayed behind,” Ramos said.
Duterte was forced to fly back to the Philippines just hours after reaching his Moscow hotel suite as the Maute terrorists took control of Marawi City last My 23. He declared martial law all over Mindanao from Moscow.