Robin Padilla defends Cesar Montano, Phillip Salvador's inclusion in Duterte's Russian trip

MANILA, Philippines — Robin Padilla defended his friends, actors Phillip Salvador and Cesar Montano, after they were criticized and accused of using government funds in joining President Rodrigo Duterte's trip to Russia last week.

In a Facebook post shared by Phillip on Saturday, October 5, Robin spoke out on behalf of Filipino celebrities who were part of the trip. (READ: Rodrigo Duterte: The celebrity in Malacañang)

"Binabanatan niyo si Kuya Ipe, si Cesar Monatno, at si Moymoy [Palaboy] [kung] bakit sila nasa Russia. (You are are criticizing Ipe, Cesar Montano, and Moymoy over their presence in Russia.)  

"At kung sasabihin ng mga bumabatikos na ito na yung mga kaibigan ay binili, nilibre ng pamasahe, hindi po totoo 'yan. Kami ang bumibili ng pamasahe po namin," Robin said.

(And those saying that they've been bought, that their tickets were free, that's not true. We buy our way.)

The actor insisted that they spend for themselves – while also saying that "supporters" give them money to spend. 

"Mukha ba kaming walang pera? May pera po kami at yung perang 'yan ay gift sa amin 'yan ng mga taong sumusuporta sa amin," he said.

(Do we look like we have no money? We have money and that money is a gift to us by our supporters.)

At kapag pumupunta po kami sa abroad, kasama namin ang mahal na Pangulo, si SBG [Senator Bong Go] at ang gabinete, hindi naman po kami nakikisama sa kanila, sa kainan nila, sa kung saan-saan, hindi po."

(When we go abroad with the President, Senator Bong Go, and the Cabinet, we don't stay, eat or mingle with them.) 

The actor insisted that they join the trips to entertain the Filipino community in the places Duterte visits – and not as a transaction with or favor to any politician.

"Sumasama kami dahil para sa mga Pilipino, tandaan n'yo po iyan. Yung mga Pilipino na nandoon sa Japan, sa Russia kung saan-saan kami nagpunta. Ini-entertain namin ang mga Pilipino ng walang bayad. Naintindihan n'yo iyon?

(We fly there for Filipinos. The Filipino in Japan, Russia, wherever we go. We entertain these Filipinos for free. Can you understand that?) 

A... challenge? 

Robin challenged their critics and asked them if they pay taxes, going as far as daring them to show just how much they pay in taxes. 

"Hinahamon ko kayo, kahit kayong mga pulitiko na bumabanat sa amin, maglabasan nga tayo ng tax," he said

(I challenge you – including the politicians criticizing us – let's disclose how much we pay in taxes)

"Pakitaan tayo, kung sino sa atin ang sumusunod sa batas. Kung sino sa atin ang sumusunod sa patakaran sa Pilipinas." (Let's see who follows the law. Let's see who follows the laws in the country.) 

He also said the opposition was causing him "stress."

Filipino TV and movie personalities have been known to tag along in Duterte's trips abroad. They've also been criticized for their participation. In May, a number of personalities led by Robin joined Duterte during his trip to Japan. They were part of a program for Filipinos working in the country.

Dianne Medina, a news anchor for state-run PTV 4, lashed out at a commenter who questioned why she and fiance, actor Rodjun Cruz, were part of the trip and whether they paid for it by themselves. Presidential spokesperon Salvador Panelo previously said that the artists pay for their own expenses. — Rappler.com