MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday sought to dispel rumors that President Rodrigo Duterte did not receive a football jersey during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ASEAN and FIFA last Saturday in Thailand.
A video posted on Twitter on Sunday showed Southeast Asian leaders receiving their personalized jerseys; Duterte was initially skipped over for State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar but eventually received a No. 10 kit.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo criticized the video, which "purportedly" showed that the President "did not receive a football jersey" during the event.
"The official photo of the President, easily accessible in the Facebook account of the Presidential Communications, immediately puts a lie to this sinister false news," Panelo said.
Duterte had posted with the other Southeast Asian leaders, holding up their souvenir jerseys, after the ceremony.
Panelo hit out at the tweet, calling it the "latest dirty political stunt" by Duterte's enemies who seek to embarrass him.
"The popularity and the acceptance of the President by those who overwhelmingly voted him into office cannot however be eroded or diminished, no matter how these incorrigible whiners and nitpickers try hard to destroy him. The more they throw mud at him, the more he comes out clean and appreciated by the people," said Panelo.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding between ASEAN and FIFA kicked off the ASEAN Summit Plenary in Bangkok. It is a gesture of support for the region's plan to jointly host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, although only Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are officially part of the bid.
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