(UPDATED – 7:30 p.m.) DA NANG, Vietnam – President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the gala dinner for heads of state attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam Sunday night.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano attended the gala dinner in his behalf.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the President needed to attend to the crisis caused by the Abu Sayyaf Group’s kidnapping of four Vietnamese fishermen in Sulu.
Three fishermen were safely rescued but the fourth one was killed.
“I am able to confirm that Philippine authorities were able to recover four kidnap victims, three of them were recovered alive. Unfortunately, the fourth one was already lifeless when he was recovered. The Philippine government expresses their condolences and sympathies to the family of the fourth Vietnamese fisherman [who] has been found dead,” said Roque.
“It was important for the Philippine president, in fact, to supervise the recovery efforts. I can confirm that the fishermen are currently in the custody of the Philippine Navy and that they are being debriefed and [will] soon be seen by Vietnamese authorities,” he added.