MANILA – Former President Fidel Ramos on Monday chided President Rodrigo Duterte for skipping the photo shoot of world leaders at the 24th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay represented Duterte in the photo shoot, which featured leaders wearing shawls made from the fine wool of a mountain-dwelling creature called the vicuna.
Duterte also chose to skip the APEC gala dinner on Saturday night.
Ramos, however, said Duterte should have at least made it to the photo shoot. He said there is no excuse for Duterte being absent in the traditional “family photo.”
“Ano ba ang pakiramdam na masama ng president? Masakit ang ulo? Merong doctor na kasama sa delegasyon. O baka meron namang loose bowel movement? Naku, napakadali nyan. Iyung isang Cabinet member magdala ka ng diaper,” Ramos said in a news conference.
(What sickness did the president have? Headache? They have a doctor in the delegation. Loose bowel movement? That’s so easy. Have a Cabinet member bring a diaper.)
“That is not enough to prevent you from having even just a group photo with the leaders. Never mind the dinner. Mag-liquid diet ka na lang, kumain ka ng sopas. Pero pagkatapos ng group photo, saan ang Pilipinas? Wala.”
(That is not enough to prevent you from having even just a group photo with the leaders. Never mind the dinner. Just have a liquid diet, eat soup. But after the group photo, where is the Philippines? Nowhere.)
Ramos has publicly rebuked Duterte for some of his decisions, including his resistance to signing the historic Paris climate change agreement and his pivot to China at the expense of the Philippines’ traditional ally, the United States.
Despite some policy differences with Duterte, Ramos said he does not regret convincing the long-time Davao City mayor to run.
“My support is always there. I said I support Mr. President because you are the team leader. But my bigger support is to the Philippine team,” he said.
“He still has 6 years in his term and therefore has plenty of time to recover.”