DFA: Honeylet Avanceña in New York for advocacy work

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2017 12:46 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte's common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña was seen in New York amid the annual convention of United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly.

Avanceña was spotted watching "Miss Saigon" at the Broadway theater on Tuesday night.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said that while Avanceña is not part of the official Philippine delegation to the UN General Assembly, she is in New York because she has been invited to participate in some of the side meetings as part of her advocacy work.

The President, meanwhile, skipped the assembly to attend to the Marawi crisis. 

He is being represented to the world body by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Duterte has decided to lessen foreign travels to deal with the country’s domestic issues, according to Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

The U.N. and the Duterte administration has many times clashed over the latter's campaign against illegal drugs.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein recently expressed concern over drug-related killings in the Philippines, saying the anti-drug campaign's “lack of respect for due process rights of all Filipinos is appalling."

Cayetano hit back and said the commissioner’s remark “severely mischaracterized” the human rights situation in the Philippines.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard has also been vocal in opposing the government's drug war.

She had sought an official visit to the country to investigate drug-related killings but the Duterte administration has placed conditions on her probe.

In May, Callamard visited Manila to attend an academic conference on drug-related issues and grace the Commission on Human Rights' 30th anniversary celebration. --With reports from Don Tagala and Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau