MANILA - Presidential spokesman Harry Roque defended Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez from criticisms that his recent birthday party attended by President Rodrigo Duterte among others was extravagant.
"There was nothing lavish about the affair, I can assure you that," Roque told reporters, adding that despite the presence of top government officials, Alvarez' birthday party was "simple."
Some of the country's top officials graced the Saturday event, including Duterte and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Alvarez's fellow stalwarts in the ruling Partido Demokratiko - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Also present at the celebration were Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and Russian Ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev. Television host Boy Abunda and singer Jed Madela also lent their star power to make the Speaker's birthday more special.
Roque said the celebration was "not extravagant," noting that it was held in the Tagum City Hall in Davao.
"Totoo po maraming naimbita, kasi halos lahat ng miyembro ng Kongreso naroon, halos lahat ng Gabinete nandoon at nandoon ang Presidente," he said.
"Pero simple lang naman po simple ang programa, simple ang pagkain, marami lang talagang tao dahil kinakailangan ding isama sa pagsasaya iyong kaniyang mga constituents doon sa Tagum City," he added.