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Palace defends Duterte’s absence from ASEAN events: Umabsent din ang iba!

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s absences from two Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit events in Bangkok, Thailand.

Duterte skipped the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit and the closing ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit. He also missed the family photo at the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit.

“Unang-una, iyong photo op, he had to relieve himself and took a little time. Iyon namang last summit, according to Sonny Dominguez, is more of a technical thing. And the economic managers had to be there, not the President,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“And I asked the President why he was going to forego the closing ceremony, and he said, ‘Alam mo, mayroon tayong slot – slot ng eroplano is 7:30. We have to take off at 7:30, otherwise baka bukas pa ako aalis eh ang daming trabaho sa Maynila’. That’s the reason why. Anyway, closing naman iyon,” he added.

Panelo said other ASEAN leaders, including Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, also skipped events.

“And not only that, there were other heads of the state who were absent, who missed that. In fact, even during the session, umalis si Prime Minister of Malaysia – Mahathir. Another session, umalis din si Singapore Prime Minister Lee,” he also said.

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