Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade denied the claim of outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg that he made an “unpublicized” trip to China in June this year.
“If it is true Ambassador Goldberg said that, then the fabled American ‘intelligence network’ has miserably
failed again. That is gossip. I was never in Beijing in June,” Tugade said in a statement.
“You can always examine my passport anytime,” he added.
Speaking to ANC’s Headstart, Goldberg mentioned that he is aware that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Tugade made a trip to China ahead of President Duterte’s recent state visit to Beijing, which later on led to the increase in China’s investment and loan pledges to the Philippines.
Goldberg said he was not surprised that the Philippines secured an estimated $24 billion in investment and loan pledges after Duterte’s visit restored to normal level the relations between Manila and Beijing.
The deals include at least $5.5 billion for transportation and infrastructure, $1 billion for a hydroelectric power plant, $700 million for a steel plant, and $780 million for a port development project in Davao City.
Cayetano has yet to comment on Goldberg’s statement.
Tugade was appointed Transportation secretary in May 2016. Cayetano ran as Duterte’s running mate but lost in the May 2016 polls.