So much space in various platforms has been devoted to criticizing President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s weekend visit to Singapore, the nation state he visited last month, to watch the F1 Grand Prix.
This is the Formula One, the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Paris-based Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.
Some have called the trip “unnecessary and irresponsible” as well as “insensitive” – in the words of activists and radical groups, joined by a farmers’ group which noted that Mr. Marcos Jr. and his entourage were said to have stayed at the exclusive F1 Paddock Club, which costs $8,000 (P470,412) for a two-day access pass.
Singapore hosted last weekend its first F1 race since the pandemic in 2020, with tickets reported by critics as selling fast and party suites costing up to $70,000 (P4.1 million) a night. Race tickets cost from SG$98 (P4,024) to nearly SG$10,000 (P410,629).
Some criticisms have suggested that Mr. Marcos should have stayed home instead and supervised the relief and rescue operations, given Super Typhoon Karding’s swath of destruction in the country before last weekend.
They also found fault with Malacanang’s silence over the reports – but the other day it issued a brief statement on social media that the President’s trip to Singapore was “productive” and had bolstered negotiations with possible investors from the city state.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in a Facebook post, said the president took the opportunity to follow up matters taken up during a state visit to Singapore last month.
“President Marcos’ visit to Singapore was productive. He strengthened the major items discussed during his state visit to this country, and continued to encourage investment to the Philippines,” she said.
Angeles’ statement, in critics’ eyes, was short on details on the “major items” discussed in the president’s recent visit nor identity the people who Mr. Marcos had met in Singapore.
They also faulted Angeles why the trip was not announced before Mr. Marcos left the country last weekend.
We agree with some political observers that while Mr. Marcos is now the elected leader, that did not mean he has lost his zone as a private person, where he can have himself to his own person.
Even Secretary Erwin Tulfo has acknowledged that the President has always been in touch with members of his official family wherever he is and lets go of instructions as needed.
We remember the case of Caroline, Princess of Hanover, daughter of Prince Rainer III of Monaco in the case Von Hannover v Germany, decided by the European Court of Human Rights in 2004.
In 1999 the German courts granted an injunction to prevent publication of photos involving her children, stating their need for protection was greater than that of adults, but the German Constitutional Court ruled there was no breach of privacy as Caroline, Princess of Hanover, “was public figure, specifically a ‘figure of contemporary society par excellence.’”
But on June 24, 2004, the Court ruled that there was breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and accepted that scenes from daily life or when on holiday “were of a purely private nature…”
We remember the case, given the criticisms raised against the President.