Melania Trump invited Honeylet Avanceña to New York event – Malacañang
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – It was United States First Lady Melania Trump who invited Honeylet Avanceña to attend events at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, said Malacañang on Thursday, September 21.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella told Palace reporters in a message, "Ma'am Honeylet Avanceña was invited by FLOTUS - Melania Trump."
Later on, Abella said Avanceña is on a "personal trip to New York to attend an event upon the invitation of First Lady of the US, Madame Melania Trump."
Avanceña, when asked if she was in New York for the UN General Assembly, replied, "Oo (Yes)."
The US First Lady gave a speech on Wednesday, September 20, at a UN General Assembly luncheon about protecting children's rights.
Other first spouses were present at the event.
Avanceña, as President Rodrigo Duterte's common-law wife, is not officially the Philippines' First Lady but has taken on many functions reserved for the title. (READ: The evolution of Duterte's First Lady, Honeylet Avanceña)
She has accompanied Duterte on official foreign trips and helps in welcoming foreign dignitaries and their spouses to the Philippines for high-profile events.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesman Robespierre Bolivar earlier said in an ABS-CBN report that Avanceña was not part of the Philippine delegation to the UN General Assembly but was invited to attend some of the event's side meetings as part of her advocacy work.
Avanceña was spotted in New York on Tuesday, September 19, watching Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theater. She confirmed she was in the city for the international gathering but refused to answer questions on her role there.
Duterte did not attend the summit, opting to stay in the Philippines to attend to the Marawi crisis.
The Philippines was represented by Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. – Rappler.com