Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano yesterday accused outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg of meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
Golberg had said that Cayetano and Transportation and Communications Secretary Arthur Tugade made an “unpublicized” trip to China before President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing.
Cayetano confirmed his trip to China earlier this year but stressed that it was at his own discretion and not that of the President.
He emphasized that there was nothing suspicious about the trip being unpublicized because unlike the Philippine President, public officials are not obligated to issue departure and arrival statements every time they leave the country.
“First of all, Secretary Tugade and myself, we’re not the President. We don’t have departure or arrival statements so what does he mean by unpublicized trips? The reality is that it is only the President’s trips that are publicized,” Cayetano said.
“I’m a senator. I don’t need the President to tell me to do something. If he tells me to do something, I will follow.
But as a senator, I can meet my counterparts, I can travel. There is such a thing as inter-parliamentary relations,” he explained.
Cayetano questioned the US Ambassador’s motives in monitoring his and Tugade’s affairs. He also called out Goldberg for engaging in “rumor-mongering” and giving false information when he made an unverified remark about Tugade’s visit to China.
“Secretary Tugade had a lot of invitations. Any DoTr Secretary is invited by China and Japan, automatically. But Secretary Tugade, I heard him a lot of times saying, ‘I will not go abroad until I form my team. And my priority is forming the DoTr team,” Cayetano said.
“That’s why hindi siya sumama sa mga trips until matapos ang kanyang team. And may sarili siyang plano because Secretary Tugade doesn’t want to be supply-driven. Gusto niya munang pag-aralan muna kung ano bang kailangan natin,” he added. (Mario B. Casayuran)