LIMA, Peru: Blame it on jetlag.
President Rodrigo Duterte was not able to join other Pacific Rim leaders for the traditional “family photo” at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit because he was feeling lightheaded.
Duterte also missed the gala dinner hosted by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Sunday.
“I was not able to attend the socials because… you know why? Jet lag,” Duterte told reporters at a press briefing heading back to Manila.
“(I was) lightheaded because exactly at that time that’s my sleeping time back home in the Philippines,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. represented Duterte. He was flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on the second row.
The APEC family photo is a tradition at every summit meant to show solidarity among the member economies. The leaders had traditional Peruvian shawls draped on their shoulders.
Duterte also did not show up for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Retreats that same day. The retreats, where heads of state divide themselves into smaller groups to facilitate discussions, give the leader opportunities to freely discuss among themselves the topic set for the session.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the President started feeling unwell during the dialogue between APEC leaders and Pacific Alliance Presidents on Sunday afternoon.
“Nung natapos yung meeting, binubulong na niya sa amin na masama pakiramdam niya baka hindi na ako maka-attend mamaya (When the meeting ended he was telling us that he was not feeling well),” Lopez said.