Rody on Yasay’s APEC photo: I’m promoting his movie career

Giovanni Nilles - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - In what appears to be another joke, President Duterte said he was promoting the movie career of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. when he had Yasay appear for the traditional family picture at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Lima, Peru last week.

“I’m promoting the movie career of Yasay. Sabi ko, gusto mo mag-ano di, ikaw yung actor di ikaw na tumabi diyan sa mga yan. (I said, you want to be an actor? Then you should be the one to stand beside them). I was not feeling well. And it is not right to say that there are doctors there,” Duterte said on Thursday when he visited his parents’ graves at the Wireless Cemetery in Davao City.

Duterte was reacting to the criticism of former president Fidel Ramos on his absence at the gala dinner and picture taking of world leaders at the APEC Summit.

Ramos said Duterte could not feign sickness because there are doctors that accompany Philippine officials on foreign trips and those assigned to the APEC Summit itself.

Ramos also said that if he was the host, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, he would feel insulted by Duterte’s absence.

Duterte also claimed to have had a bum stomach.

“As usually happens, if you are not...you know, the food…saan ninyo ako gustong magpuririt? Doon sa stage o doon sa…(Where do you want me to defecate? On the stage or at…) The hotel was just about 10 minutes away. Well, my stomach was not good. And I could have exploded anytime,” Duterte said.

But while in Lima, Duterte told reporters that it was jetlag that did him in. He earlier thought of skipping his attendance at the APEC Summit citing his age, 72, and the long travel. It takes almost 24 hours to reach Lima from Manila by plane.

He said he felt lightheaded because the time for the meetings coincided with his sleeping time in the Philippines. Duterte normally sleeps past 2 a.m. and wakes up around 9 a.m.

There were speculations that he skipped the dinner to avoid US President Barack Obama, who has been vocal about his concerns over the Philippines’ intensified campaign against illegal drugs. The campaign already claimed the lives of more than 4,600 people.

Duterte had responded to Obama’s criticisms by accusing the US President of interfering in Philippine affairs and throwing insults and profanities.            

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