- Duterte’s recent trip to Japan included a number of celebrities
- Dianne Medina denied trip was paid for by the government
- Bayani Agbayani said the trip to Japan was paid by the government through Bong Go
President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent trip to Japan has attracted public attention because of its huge entourage.
But more than the numbers, what caught the public’s eye is the number of celebrities who joined the trip. Some of those included in the entourage were Robin Padilla, Phillip Salvador, Ryan Bang, Rodjun Cruz and girlfriend Dianne Medina, Bayani Agbayani, and many others.
The presence of celebrities on a supposedly official government trip has raised the eyebrows of some netizens and critics for allegedly wasting taxpayers’ money to fund their trip.
This was seemingly affirmed when Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V said that the Japan trip with its entourage of 200 was a reward from the President for the favorable results of the 2019 midterm elections.
“You know, you ask me personally what is this purpose? Ito’y pabuya sa nakaraang election. Why do you bring 21 — ah 20 Cabinet members here pati ang [including the] local government or land reform?” Laurel told reporters.
But two of the celebrities who joined the Japan trip denied the accusations that it was paid with taxpayers’ money.
“Not true. Di ka pa nasanay sa mga naninira. You cannot please everybody. May kanya kanya yang opinion or side na pinapanigan. Kahit sabihin mo ang totoo pero di ka nila side, balewala,” she said.
“Kayo na ang bahala basta ako nasabi na namin ni Rodjun ang totoo. Regalo? San galing yun? We booked our own ticket here,” she added.
Cruz also defended the trip saying also that they were the ones who paid for the trip.
“Hi Guys may freedom naman ako to post dahil kami nag bayad ng trip na to. Mali lang jinu-judge kami ng mga tao. Madaming bansa na kaming napuntahan ni Dianne bukod sa Japan. Ilang beses na rin kami bumalik dito. Salamat. God Bless,” Cruz explained.
But Dianne seemed to contradict herself in a conversation with a netizen.
In a Facebook messenger convo, Dianne said that the trip was part of her job as a PTV anchor.
PTV is the country’s official TV network which could imply that her trip was paid by the government.
Aside from Dianne’s slip, another celebrity who was part of the entourage admitted that the trip was paid for by the government.
In an interview with PEP, comedian Bayani Agbayani admitted that the trip was paid by the government.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, dapat sinasagot ninyo nang tama ang bawat tanong. Kung ano yung tanong, yun ang sagot. Kasi, hindi naman puwede na ikaw pa ang magbabayad ng pamasahe mo, ‘tapos ikaw pa ang magpi-perform. Ano ka, tanga?” Agbayani explained.
Bayani also revealed that it was the office of Senator-elect Bong Go who paid for his ticket which according to him was an economy plane ticket.