Palace affirms Duterte unaware that Filipino soldiers were harassed at Ayungin Shoal

Malacañang on Friday insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte was unaware of the reported harassment of Filipino soldiers by Chinese forces at Ayungin Shoal last May.

Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano gave conflicting comments on the incident as the country’s top diplomat said the President was briefed on the reported harrasment.

However, the President, on Tuesday night, said it was his first time to hear about the harassment.

When first asked to clarify the conflicting statements on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he would go by the President’s statement.

However, Roque said he would clarify the issue with the chief executive.

Asked for an update on Friday, Roque said in a text message, “I defer to his (Duterte) statement.”

“Let it stand,” he added. has sought clarification from Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano but he has yet to respond as of posting time.  /vvp

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