PHL envoy to US convincing Duterte to accept US invititation: Palace

Malacañang confirmed on Thursday Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez has been convincing President Rodrigo Duterte to accept the invitation of President Donald Trump to visit the United States.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Romualdez made the confirmation at the Philippine Airlines (PAL) event attended by Duterte last July 17 at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“On the trip to the US, I will confirm that I had a short conversation with Romualdez during the PAL event and he has said that he will not give up on convincing the President to accept the pending invitation of President Trump for President Duterte to visit the United States, but I have no other details than that,” Roque said in a press briefing in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Last Wednesday, Duterte said his trip to the US upon the invitation of his “friend” Trump “has something to do with the schedule” and “not because of anybody or any place there”.

“If it could only be a regional flight, where I can go fly-in and fly-out in the evening, that would be very easy. But the long haul of 13, 14 hours would kill me,” Duterte said in his speech in an event in Davao City.

Meanwhile, Roque refused to give details on Duterte’s upcoming visit to Israel tentatively in September.

“On Israel, I was going to take the position that I will defer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and I think you know why, the trip itself can be controversial,” Roque said.

Aside from US and Israel, Kuwait is also on the list of the possible next foreign trips of the President.

Last Wednesday, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Bong Go said the President might pursue his plan to visit Kuwait in October, depending on the availability of Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. PNA