PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will be briefed on the outcome of the side meetings by presidential communications office Secretary Martin Andanar and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. after they return from the inauguration of United States President-elect Donald Trump on January 20.
Andanar has said that President Duterte will skip Trump’s inauguration.
“Customarily, heads of state do not attend the inauguration of the President of America because this is purely a domestic affair,” Andanar said.
The Palace official said he and Esperon would attend the inauguration but Charge D’ Affaires Patrick A. Chuasoto will officially represent the President.
“We will be performing our respective functions. We have side meetings too. The Charge D’ Affaires will officially represent PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte),” he said in a text message to Palace reporters.
Andanar did not give details about their side meetings but said they would report to the President on their return.
“We will report to the President the inauguration and our side meetings once we get back,” he said.
The relationship of the Philippines and the United States had been strained after Duterte launched a series of verbal attacks against the US for interfering in his administration’s brutal war on drugs. He even threatened to sever ties with the country’s long-standing ally.
But after Trump’s win in November 2016, Duterte changed his tune, saying he could get along with the incoming President.
Duterte and Trump earlier had a phone conversation during which the incoming US President invited Duterte to visit him in the White House.
Duterte has invited Trump to attend the 2017 ASEAN Summit in Manila this year.