MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will take a private plane when he leaves for Singapore this week to attend the 32nd ASEAN Leaders Summit, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will board an 8-seater plane for the two-hour flight from Davao City to Singapore.
“[The purpose is] to save money. It’s expensive to charter a plane and a leaner delegation would mean lesser cost for taxpayers,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
A Philippine Star report said the President wants a smaller delegation for his Singapore trip.
This comes in the wake of criticism from opposition lawmaker Gary Alejano over Duterte’s large delegation when he visited Hong Kong earlier this month.
Alejano said Duterte is a “hypocrite” for firing government officials over unnecessary trips but bringing a large delegation to his recent Hong Kong visit.
Critics observed that Duterte’s meeting with the Filipino community in Hong Kong appeared to be a soft launch of the ruling PDP-Laban party’s senatorial slate for the 2019.
Several personalities rumored to be eyeing Senate seats, including Roque, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, were present during the Hong Kong event.