There was nothing wrong with the conduct of Chinese Ambassador who was seen talking to President Rodrigo Duterte during the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Kawit, Cavite on Tuesday, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
“That’s not insensitive. Si Presidente ang lumapit (The President approached him). Nakita ko ‘yun (I saw that),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday described the conduct of Zhao during the event in Kawit, Cavite as inappropriate and “so insensitive.”
“Hindi ko alam kung bakit nakatayo pa ang Chinese ambassador sa tabi ng ating Presidente habang itinataas ang watawat. Bakit nakikipag-usap pa sa ating Defense Secretary – napaka-insensitive talaga ng mga ganon sa kasalukuyang panahon,” Hontiveros told reporters.
(I can’t understand why the Chinese ambassador was still standing beside our President while the flag was being raised. Why he was still talking to our Defense Secretary – that’s so insensitive.)
But contrary to the senator’s claim, observers said Zhao was not standing beside Duterte while the President was raising the Philippine flag.
National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP) Rene Escalante was the one beside the President during the ceremony.
Zhao was also seen talking to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana inside the Aguinaldo House before the start of the Independence Day program in Kawit.
Lorenzana was seen repeatedly pointing his finger at Zhao during their conversation.
The defense chief said his gesture was meant to show his displeasure over the report that members of Chinese Coast Guard have been taking the catch of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal.
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