By Annika Gorgeana V. Maningo

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin clarified on Wednesday, October 12, that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s weekend visit to Singapore was “semi-official” after Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel III raised the issue at a Senate hearing.

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“The President most likely saw an opportunity for him to expand on the goodwill that he generated when he made the official state visit…The visit then was partly official, partly personal,” Bersamin said during the budget hearing for the Office of the President and the Presidential Management Staff.

Bersamin also stated that the government covered some allowances for the trip, but it was difficult to discern between the costs charged to the government and those covered by the Marcos family. 

Marcos Jr. attended the F1 weekend in Singapore from September 30 to October 2 with some family members, including First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, Ilocos Norte Representative and Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos, and his cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez. 

“Meron tayong obligasyon kung saan po pupunta yung Presidente, kasama man niya yung pamilya niya or hindi, hindi naman niya iniiwan yung pagka-presidente niya eh. So obligado pa rin yung gobyerno na alagaan siya, i-secure siya,” Bersamin added.

Pimentel commented that the visit looked as if it was an official engagement since it was made upon the invitation of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

Furthermore, Pimentel said that he had fully comprehended the need to hide the truth regarding the details before the trip for security reasons and added that OP expenses for the trip would still be audited. 

Edited by Audrei Jeremy A. Mendador