MANILA – (UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte was a no-show at a meeting between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations late Monday.
The President skipped the meeting due to bilateral talks that "ran beyond schedule," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano instead presided over the event, opposite UN Secretary General António Guterres.
Duterte previously criticized the UN for expressing concern over his anti-narcotics drive, which has seen some 3,800 drug suspects killed according to police.
The 9th ASEAN-UN Summit was supposed to be Duterte’s last event on Monday, according to his official schedule.
"President Duterte had several bilateral meetings last night, including with Japan, ROK [Republic of Korea/South Korea], India, and Russia," DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar explained in a statement.
"The meetings were already running beyond schedule so, to avoid further delaying the ASEAN-UN Summit, it was decided that SFA (Cayetano) represent the President while he was meeting bilaterally with the other leaders," he said.
Emerging from one of the bilateral meetings late Monday, Duterte said he was “a bit” tired and lacked sleep when pressed by reporters.