Palace defends PHL officials' presence in Duterte's Russia trip

MALACA√ĎANG defended Wednesday the inclusion of some government officials to President Rodrigo Duterte's official delegation to Moscow, Russia.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippine official delegation played a significant role in participating in Duterte's official visit to Moscow, Russia.

"The official visit of President Duterte to Moscow was an important and strategic move that significantly broadened the horizon of our independent foreign policy," Abella said.

"It was important to have key members of the President's administration to accompany him," he added.

In a press conference Friday, former president Fidel Ramos said some government officials who had no role in Duterte's trip to Russia trip had turned the Moscow state visit into "junket."

"Some people should have stayed behind, should have been in their posts because this is not the first time there have been threats," Ramos said.

"Pardon me for calling it a junket but it now turns out that it was a junket," he said.

Skirmishes between government forces and Islamic State-inspired Maute erupted when Duterte was still in Russia to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the business sector and Filipino community.

This prompted Duterte to declare a state of martial law in the entire Mindanao, shortened his trip and immediately return to the Philippines.

Abella said Duterte's leadership style is considered "deliberate, fearless, and very relational," which can be "misconstrued by managerial types like Ramos."

He said Ramos should have noticed the positive results of the President's visit to Russia.

"The best gauge would be results: aside from the financial windfall coming our way, the phenomenal support most Filipinos give him indicate that he is doing something right," Duterte's spokesperson said. (SunStar Philippines)
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