President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech at Camp Quintin Merecido in Davao City, he defended his recent trip to Russia, which former President Fidel Ramos labeled as a “junket.”
“Noong nasa Moscow ako sa Russia, noong nagbalita na inatake na ang Marawi. I was criticized kasi junket daw sabi ni Presidente Ramos. It was not. We got about P9 billion of ready-made transactions kaagad,” Duterte said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon were included in the trip to talk arms trade with Russia.
“Nandoon si Secretary Lorenzana, nandoon si Esperon. Nandoon lahat iyun kasi we were discussing arms and all the mga trade,” he said.
“Sabi ko you come with me because ‘yan lang din ang paraan na mapakita ko sa inyo na this is also a nation who has the gratitude for you, sumama kayo. Isama niyo ‘yung asawa ninyo, ipasyal ko kayo,” he said.
“Alam mo ang bayad ko sa eroplano, ke ako lang mag-isa ang pasahero, punuin ko ng tao, pareho lang. And so I invited ‘yung mag-retire,” he said.
Last May 26, Ramos slammed several government officials who he said had turned President Duterte’s official visit to Russia into a “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.
Recently, 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.
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.