Panelo: Duterte ‘pondering’ Trump’s invitation to visit US
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is “pondering” whether or not he will accept US President Donald Tump’s invitation to visit his country for a special summit with other Southeast Asian leaders, Malacañang said Thursday.
In a Palace press briefing, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President is mindful of the possibility that he might be refused entry to the US following Trump’s signing of a spending measure which includes a provision instructing Washington to ban the entry of Philippine officials who had a hand in the “wrongful imprisonment” of opposition Senator De Lima.
Panelo also claimed Duterte doesn’t want to visit the US because “some US senators would be unhappy seeing him there” because he’s “supposed to be number one on the list” of banned Philippine officials.
Trump’s invitation, initially made during the recent Asean Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, was renewed in a letter dated Jan. 9.
Now that the President has already made his position, the Palace official said it is now up to the US government to “respond” to “whatever signal it receives” from Duterte’s statement.
“The ball has been thrown to them. They have to do something about it since the President has already made his position on the matter,” he said.
Panelo, however, stressed that the President is not “imposing conditions” to accept the invitation for the March special summit in Las Vegas.
“(Duterte) just expressed certain sentiments relative to some issues that may affect his entry,” Panelo said.
Duterte had previously turned down Trump’s “personal” invitation to visit Washington, claiming that he cannot stand the weather and the long-haul flight to get there.
Panelo explained that Duterte is now “pondering” the request because it’s an “official invitation” to all leaders of the Southeast Asian region.
“The previous invitations are personal invitations from President Trump. This one is an official invitation to all Asean leaders and there is a special summit,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.