Duterte skips APEC family photo session, meetings

Pia Ranada
(UPDATED) Duterte blames 'jetlag' for his absence at traditional APEC events like the 'family photo' of heads of state where Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr stood in for him

NO-SHOW. Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr represents President Rodrigo Duterte at a photo of leaders taken on the second day of the 24th APEC Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru on November 20, 2016. Photo by King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte missed his first chance to be part of the traditional Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit’s family photo of heads of state.

In photos released by Malacañang, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr stood in for Duterte for the photo, taken on the last day of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru on Sunday, November 20. (READ: APEC 2016: After poncho mockery, world leaders tone it down in Peru with shawls)

In a press conference there, Duterte blamed jetlag for his missing events on the second day of the APEC summit.

“Jetlag, inaantok ako (Jetlag, I felt sleepy),” he told reporters. 

On that day, leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders’ Declaration.

Duterte was also absent from the APEC Economic Leaders’ Retreats that same day. The retreats, where heads of state divide themselves into smaller groups to facilitate discussion, are typically opportunities for leaders to freely discuss among themselves the topic set for the session.

The previous night (Saturday, November 19), Duterte skipped the Gala Dinner hosted by Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

According to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the Philippine President had to skip the dinner because he was “not feeling well.”

SUBSTITUTE. Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr attends the Leaders' Retreat in behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte during the second day of the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting at the Lima Convention Center in Peru on November 20, 2016. Photo by Rey Baniquet/Presidential Photo

The APEC Economic Leaders’ family photo is a tradition at every APEC summit meant to show solidarity among the member economies.

This is Duterte’s first APEC summit as President. He made his international debut at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit last September in Laos where he also skipped some important events. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.