Palace denies Duterte brought 400-man delegation to Israel

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  • Malacañang Palace denied Duterte brought 400-man delegation to Israel
  • Harry said there were only 46 official delegates and 150 others who travelled on their own account
  • Duterte will be in Israel for a 4-day state visit

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang Palace has denied President Rodrigo Duterte has brought with him a 400-man delegation on his recent trip to Israel.

In a statement on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they have no idea where the number came from but the President only brought 46 official delegates with him plus at least 150 others who travelled with Duterte on their own account.

“Not sure where the figure of 400 came from,” said Roque. “I do know there’s a substantial business delegation of at least 150 who are all traveling on their own accounts.”

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This after an Israeli media outlet reported on Sunday that President Duterte arrived in Israel with more than 400 delegates.

“According to the Kan state broadcaster, Duterte is bringing with him a delegation of 400, including top army and police officials, some of whom are expected to visit Israeli army bases,” reported the Times of Israel on Sunday.

Duterte will be in the Jewish state for a four-day visit; becoming the first Philippine leader to visit Israel since 1957. He is expected to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for lunch on Monday, as well as meet top military officials.

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Also included in his itinerary is a visit to the country’s Holocaust memorial and the signing of a major oil deal and viewing of arms display.

Members of the Cabinet who joined him in the trip are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

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The official delegates also include Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Senator Richard Gordon, Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año, Philippine Coast Guard commandant Elson Hermogino, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Earlier, the Palace denied Duterte will be seeking medical treatment as part of the President’s itinerary.