Bersamin on Singapore trip: Marcos entitled to private time, funding source ‘irrelevant’

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Photo from Bongbong Marcos Instagram account

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Tuesday responded to criticisms about President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s recent Singapore visit, saying the Philippine leader is entitled to his private time.

“[Y]ou may not call that a state visit, nonetheless, it's not any less covered by that law which accords great importance and value to the welfare of the first family,” Bersamin said in an interview with reporters.

Groups and netizens have called out Marcos for flying to Singapore for the Formula One Grand Prix last weekend, saying the trip was "insensitive and unnecessary” with the country still reeling from the effects of a devastating typhoon.

Some had also questioned the source of funds for the trip -– whether or not taxpayers' money was used by the first family.

Bersamin admitted he has no direct knowledge about the funding. He argued that it was “irrelevant” to raise the issue as Marcos was still performing his duties as chief executive while abroad.

“He met there with many people who were very relevant to our business activities or the running of our government here. Whether it was a fully-paid trip or not is irrelevant,” Bersamin said.

“It’s beyond issue, it’s not relevant at all to question, to ask kung sino ang gumastos [who paid for the trip]... Basta [As long as] he is doing something for us,” he added

Malacañang earlier said Marcos’ visit was “productive” as he strengthened ties with other dignitaries who also graced the event.