Japan trip a ‘reward’ to Cabinet execs? ‘Illogical,’ says Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang denied Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s third trip to Japan is a reward to Cabinet members after administration bets dominated the May midterm elections.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that it is illogical to reward Cabinet members who were disallowed to campaign during the elections.
Panelo made the remark after Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V, in a press briefing in Tokyo, said the trip was a “reward” from the Chief Executive who is “elated” with the victory of his candidates in the recently concluded elections.
“It is worth mentioning that Cabinet members were prohibited by the President to campaign for the administration candidates during the last elections,” Panelo 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.
The Palace official stressed that the Cabinet members’ presence in the trip is “necessary” as the two governments are expected to sign agreements.
“The good Ambassador may have been either innocently speculating for lack of information or may have been misinformed of the nature of the trip of the Cabinet members. The latter’s presence is necessary. ,” Panelo said.
Duterte arrived in Tokyo Tuesday night with 16 Cabinet officials joining the official delegation. The President is attending Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia, where he is set to deliver a keynote speech.
Citing the business agreements the Philippines would get in Duterte’s four-day visit to Japan, Panelo said the President “needs most of his team players, not only as a sign of respect or giving importance to our long-time ally, but we likewise see the need for stronger cooperation between our governments.”
“This can be achieved by the constant dialogue by our Cabinet members with their counterparts in the Japanese government, who are, in various ways, involved in our country’s significant transactions with Japan,” he added. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)
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