Duterte's bringing most Cabinet officials reward after midterm polls: Laurel
President Rodrigo Duterte has brought with him most members of his Cabinet as his "reward" for them after the midterm elections, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V said on Tuesday.
The 75-year old envoy said the information he got was that some 200 people, including 16 Cabinet members, their staff, and other government employees, have accompanied Duterte on his trip to Tokyo.
"You know, you ask me personally what is this purpose? This is a reward in the previous election. Why do you bring 21 - ah 20 Cabinet members here, including local government or land reform? There's no land reform here...but I think the President is so elated with the results that it - of the midterm election, that this is an affirmation of his administration in the last three years. That's the truth. It's like a reward, 'thank you, you've done your jobs'," he told reporters in Japan.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, however, refused to call as reward Duterte's decision to allow most of his Cabinet officials to Japan.
"Almost all of those officials who are with (the President) were not present in the campaign. Those Cabinet members have their respective trade missions," he said in a text message to reporters.
He added that the Cabinet officials were "not decorations" in the summit but they would just do their respective jobs.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also defended the participation of other Cabinet officials in Duterte's trip to Tokyo.
"I don't know about that (reward). But every time we travel with the President, we maximize his presence and have him speak to several investments fora, and we conduct deal signing, business matching and networking, round table meetings with PRDD (Duterte) and investors and Secretaries do join as an opportunity to dialogue with the foreign business community," he explained.
"We have never seen this as 'pabuya (reward)'when we are working day and night just to prepare for all these activities," Lopez added. Celerina Monte/DMS