MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said the 120th Philippine Independence Day celebration in the United States held at the Trump International Hotel was aboveboard.
"We're reviewing lang if we’re allowed to give the details but everything is aboveboard," he said.
U.S. Senator Robert "Bob" Menendez wrote a letter to the Philippine Embassy on June 14 to request information for its transaction with the hotel.
The senator said there could be a potential conflict of interest since U.S. President Donald Trump owns the organization that runs the hotel in Washington, D.C.
Mendez is asking the Philippine Embassy to provide information regarding their process for selecting venues for official events and programs.
Detailed billing information, such as breakdown of costs for food, beverages, and service, was also requested by the senator.
"We believe we didn’t break any law and hindi naman tayo pumunta doon to influence the U.S. I mean who can influence President Trump?" Cayetano added.
"We have yearly celebrations on the Independence Day, and if I am not mistaken, napakita sa akin ang canvass nun, and you know it was if not the same a little bit cheaper pa doon, so walang issue sa atin."
Ambassador Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez earlier said the Philippine government didn't shell out money for the event.
"First of all, the Philippine government is not spending for this affair. This is donated by my friends, my personal friends," he said in an interview. - with report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News