Press Release
October 29, 2016

Cayetano to Goldberg: what's your business in monitoring, criticizing PH officials' affairs
Says nothing suspicious about China trip

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano shot back at outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg over the latter's recent remark that he and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade made an "unpublicized" trip to China prior to President Rodrigo Duterte's state visit to Beijing.

Cayetano on Friday (October 28) was invited as a resource person in a press briefing at Malacañang, wherein he was asked about his reaction to Goldberg's claims. In response, the senator confirmed his trip to China earlier this year, but clarified that it was at his own discretion and not that of the President.

Cayetano emphasized that there was nothing suspicious about the trip being "unpublicized" because unlike the president, public officials are not obligated to issue departure and arrival statements every time they leave the country.

"First of all, Sec. Tugade and myself, we're not the President. We don't have departure or arrival statements so what does he mean by unpublicized trips? The reality is that it is only the president's trips that are publicized," Cayetano said.

"I'm a senator. I don't need the President to tell me to do something. If he tells me to do something, I will follow. But as a senator, I can meet my counterparts, I can travel. There is such a thing as inter-parliamentary relations," he explained.

Cayetano further questioned what the US Ambassador's business was in monitoring his and Sec. Tugade's affairs. He also called out Goldberg for engaging in "rumor-mongering" and for giving false information when he made an unverified remark about Tugade's visit to China.

"Sec. Tugade had a lot of invitations. Any DOTr Secretary is invited by China and Japan, automatically. But Secretary Tugade... I heard him a lot of times saying, 'I will not go abroad until I form my team. And my priority is forming the DOTr team'," Cayetano said.

"That's why hindi siya sumama sa mga trips until matapos ang kanyang team. And may sarili siyang plano because Secretary Tugade doesn't want to be supply-driven... Gusto niya munang pag-aralan muna kung ano bang kailangan natin," he added.

The senator also echoed the remarks of foreign relations personalities whom he talked to and claimed that Goldberg's action was considered as a breach of protocol, as it was something that "a professional diplomat would not do unless you want to do something with that country."

"It was a surprise to us because they [the US] were angry a few years ago and they put some people in jail and they took US visas from a lot of Filipinos because we were spying on them. So is this an admission now that they are spying on us?" Cayetano asked.

"Was there anything wrong, malicious of me going anywhere... to China?... I did not publicize but I also met with him. Did he talk about my talk with him? Is there anything fishy, suspicious? Wala. But the way he threw it in the interview was like his parting shot."

US messenger a big part of the problem

"One of the problems is the US and Ambassador Goldberg refuse to admit that he is part of the problem," Cayetano said as he described how the Philippines' relationship with its long-time ally is significantly being affected by the United States' interference in the country's policies and political affairs.

The senator revealed that during the national elections last May, Goldberg took the time to personally meet the candidates and reported updates to the US government afterwards. But Goldberg was not able to meet with Duterte because the Ambassador apparently kept on changing the schedule.

The senator also pointed out how Goldberg interfered with the country's national polls by making a comment about a highly politically charged issue, which could have affected the discretion of the 3.5 million Filipino-American voters in the US.

"[Ambassador Goldberg] continued to treat Malacañang as if he can tell the Philippine President what to do... The messenger was part of the problem... He's interfering with our local politics, with how things are being run here," he stressed.

Cayetano said he plans to issue a full report regarding the issue at the right time and that he would write a letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay to complain and protest Goldberg's actions.

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