EXECUTIVE Secretary Lucas Bersamin defended on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, the trip of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to Singapore over the weekend to watch the prestigious F1 Grand Prix.

Bersamin said that while he is not aware if the funds used by Marcos during the trip came out of his own pocket, knowing who spent for it is “not relevant.”

Marcos’ son, Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, and the President’s cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, also watched the racing event.

First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos was also there.

“I am sure if that was the trip of the President, you don't need to be too particular about where the funds were sourced... He was still performing his job as President when he was abroad, although that is not an official state visit,” said Bersamin.

"He met there with many people who were very relevant to our business activities or the running of our government here. Whether it was a fully paid trip or not is irrelevant," he added.

He suggested that the trip might have been free as Marcos’ presence there could add significance to the event.

"What is immodest about it? Baka libre pa nga 'yun, I don't think he bothered anyone but he must have been invited there because his presence there might have added some suspense and some intrigue and importance to that event," Bersamin said.

"Alam niyo our President naging matinee idol na. His presence in an event like that would be well appreciated and it might have attracted more audience, audience-wise. It's not immodest, it's not contrary to morals eh," he added.

Bersamin also noted that Marcos is still entitled to his own private time.

“So if the President is entitled to his private time, let’s assume na private time niya 'yun because he chose to go there for a specific purpose, para manood primarily, but he could go there also for other purposes that are equally important,” he said.

“It’s beyond issue. It’s not relevant at all to ask kung sino ang gumastos... Basta he was doing something for us,” he added.

Bersamin said the trip was unannounced for security purposes.

It was only on Monday, October 3, that the Malacañang confirmed Marcos' attendance to the racing event, hours after their photos surfaced online, sparking criticisms from various groups.

In response to Bersamin’s statement, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said on Wednesday, October 5, that seeking transparency and accountability is not irrelevant.

“The President’s activities, when funded by public funds, require proper disclosure. Since when have transparency and accountability become irrelevant? They are public officials, they are not the monarchy. The President and the other public officials that went with him are subject to inquiry by the public. How much did they spend? Where did they stay? How many guests were paid for? Was the spending prudent considering the government’s fiscal situation? All these deserve answers from the government,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)