Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is adamant that President Rodrigo Duterte had every intention of attending the much hyped interview with TV host Kris Aquino last Friday.
“There was no intention to snub Kris Aquino. Again, ulitin ko po: The alter ego of the President at the Department of Trade and Industry, Secretary Mon Lopez is there, he’s the one who spoke on behalf of the President. Kris Aquino was there. Joey Concepcion was there. Government agencies that are responsible to cover the President were present,” said Andanar in a radio briefing.
Duterte did not make it to the Aquino interview which was supposed to the culmination activity of the National MSME Summit. The project was organized by Concepcion, whose father was the Trade Secretary of the late President Corazon Aquino, the mother of Kris.
But Kris herself dubbed Duterte’s no-show as “an epic snub” on her Instagram account after Duterte attended another event that same day, the launch of Pilipinong May Puso Foundation.
Malacanang claimed Duterte suffered a migraine which was why he had to cancel his first interview with Kris. This is the second time Duterte skipped a major meeting – the first was the Asean Leaders ‘ talk with US President Barack Obama in Laos last September. Duterte later sheepishly admitted he deliberately skipped the event to snub Obama.
In his speech Friday night, Duterte explained why he was late for the event: “I was, or I am very very late because I had to go to a place where we had a hard time negotiating pababa. It was raining very hard in the mountains and you could just not, ah, make it on time. If you want to make it faster then baka hindi na aabot dito sa gabing ito.”
But Andanar said there was no intention on Duterte’s part to snub Kris and that it was still possible that they could still sit down for an interview.
“The planned interview with Kris Aquino was on the board at least a month before pa. It was the project of, it is the project of Joey Concepcion and Go Negosyo. And, I’m aware of the plans,” said Andanar.
“I asked the Special Assistant to the President, Bong Go, about the ano, about the President’s plan also, if he’s attending or not.And, alam namin that the President was attending. That’s why the entire Presidential Communications Office contingent was present during the event. It just so happened that the President did not make it, ” he added.