A lot of netizens were looking for the Vice President of the Philippines, Leni Robredo, who was nowhere to be found during the gala dinner for the World Leaders attending the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit hosted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in SMX Arena, the night of November 12, 2017.
The guests were about 1, 300 who had witnessed a taste of Filipino talents and artistry.
Duterte shared a toast with United States President Donald Trump after delivering a welcome address, together with fellow ASEAN leaders and dialogue partners, namely: Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Lao People’s Democratic Republic Prime Minister Thoughloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phu, Malayasian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
The menu was very simple yet elegant, tasteful yet not extravagant, a trademark of the Duterte governance. Filipino dishes like ensaladang ubod at alugbati (heart of palm and malabar spinach salad), sinigang na maya maya sa miso (soured red snapper in miso broth), bistek sushi (Filipino steak sushi), charcoal grilled apahap fillet with tomcat-mango sambal. And there’s dessert called “budin”, a Filipino caramel flan.
Breaking traditions, Robredo was not among the government officials who greeted the foreign leaders upon their arrival for the 31st ASEAN Summit at the Clark International Airport and at the Ninoy International Airport.
She was also not seen in attendance at the gala dinner which caught the attention of netizens and drew mixed reactions from Duterte supporters and not.
— Raffy Domingo (@Rainercdo) November 12, 2017
VP Leni Robredo, the second most powerful (in paper) person in the country is not invited in the ASEAN 2017 dinner while Mocha Uson, a disgrace to the Philippines, is invited. What a shame.
— Mar Escalona 🇵🇭 (@escalonamar) November 12, 2017
— benign0 (@benign0) November 12, 2017
— ForTheMotherLand (@skywards2014) November 12, 2017
Leni Robredo shouldn't feel irrelevant and unwanted coz her supporters, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes were invited.
— tinkerbee (@tinkerbeen) November 12, 2017
— Carlo Malonzo 🎄🎅 (@carlo1em) November 12, 2017
It was reported that the vice president was not feeling well and that’s the main reason she was not able to attend the gala dinner.
But her office confirmed that it has not received an invitation to the gala dinner attended by world leaders and their spouses, diplomats, and top government officials. she was not also seen welcoming the arrival of leaders, a task given by former President Aquino to former vice pres. Jejomar Binay.
It was the former president and now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapacal-Arroyo was seen welcoming and hosting some of the leaders including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. It was later told that Arroyo initiated the welcome dinner herself.
Robredo however, will be attending the opening and closing ceremonies of the 31st ASEAN Summit on Monday and Tuesday, November 13 and 14, respectively. She will also be the keynote speaker at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit at Solaire on Tuesday.