HIGH-LEVEL MEETING. Douglas Emhoff (3rd from left), Second Gentleman of the United States, meet with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Marcos at Malacañang Palace on Thursday (June 30, 2022). Emhoff, who attended the inauguration earlier in the day, invited Marcos to visit Washington on behalf of President Joe Biden. (Photo courtesy of US Embassy in the Philippines)

MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been invited to Washington by United States President Joe Biden.

Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, said US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff handed Marcos the personal letter from Biden.

Emhoff, husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, led the seven-member delegation from Washington that attended the inauguration of Marcos at National Museum Manila on Thursday.

They later met in Malacañang along with officials of the US Embassy in Manila.

“In that letter of course, he [Biden] congratulated the President and that he hoped to be able to speak to him again by phone sometime soon. But also, invited him to come to Washington when both their schedules would allow. So, it is really an open invitation for President Marcos to come to the White House,” Romualdez said in an interview with One News on Friday.

Romualdez said the US “is very much on the radar and the United States is very eager to have President Marcos come” but it may take “a couple of months” before it materializes as Marcos would need to prioritize domestic issues.

“And then also, it was suggested that he would travel to the Asean countries which is also part of our diplomatic efforts to introduce him formally to many of his important allies,” Romualdez said.

Full immunity

He assured that Marcos will have “full diplomatic immunity” as head of state despite a long-standing contempt order that had prevented him from entering the US.

“Not at all. Head of state has full diplomatic immunity. There will be no problem whatsoever,” he added.

US Embassy Chargé d’affaires Heather Variava “immediately” informed Marcos about his immunity after he won the May 9 elections, Romualdez said.

Last month, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman also said Marcos is welcome in the US given his diplomatic immunity.

Asked how Marcos will deal with diplomatic challenges especially involving civil societies protesting against issues surrounding his family, Romualdez said the President will focus on “talking about the future” instead of the past.

He said it is normal to expect demonstrations against issues regardless of who is president, but expressed confidence that Marcos would do well both in the domestic and international scale.

“I’m very confident that he will do well because he is highly motivated. His motivation is based on the fact that he had an overwhelming mandate of 31 million people voting for him and secondly, very clearly, is because of his name. He will definitely prove himself to be worthy of being the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.

Marcos obtained 31,629,783 votes or 58.77 percent of the votes cast.

Meanwhile, Romualdez confirmed that Vice President Sara Duterte will be going to the US ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 20.

“Before that, there is something to do with education which of course the Vice President is very much interested in because of her position also as Secretary of Education,” he said. (PNA)