MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte skipped Friday's gala dinner at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam.
The president was also absent at the APEC gala dinner in Peru last year.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte could not attend the gala, because he was supervising the rescue of Vietnamese captives from the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao.
He added that Duterte is also overseeing preparations for the ASEAN Summit, which will be held in Clark, Pampanga and Pasay City.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano attended the dinner on Duterte's behalf.
Duterte was supposed to be seated between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, according to Roque.
United States President Donald Trump were among the leaders who attended the gala.