THE presence of President Rodrigo Duterte’s common-law wife, Honeylet Avanceña, in New York City was questioned after she claimed to be attending the United Nations General Assembly meetings despite having no official functions there.
But Malacañang said Thursday it was United States First Lady Melania Trump who invited Avanceña to attend the events at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Avanceña went on a “personal trip to New York to attend an event on the invitation of Melania Trump.”
Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said that while Avanceña was not part of the Philippine delegation to the UN General Assembly, “she is in New York because she has been invited to participate in some of the side meetings as part of her advocacy work.”
Officials could not provide the names of the country’s official delegation to the General Assembly, which includes Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux Uson.
Avanceña was spotted on Tuesday at the showing of the hit Broadway musical Miss Saigon along with presidential daughter Veronica when a reporter for ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau asked her if she was enjoying her stay in New York.
Avanceña said “Yes” after the reporter asked her if she was part of the delegation for the General Assembly meetings, and then added someone had invited her to attend the meetings.
But Avanceña refused to answer when asked who paid for her trip or what exactly her role was in the UN meeting. Her security personnel also tried to block the reporter’s camera.