While tensions are running high in the SLFP camp over President Maithripala Sirisena‘s leadership, the President has apparently attempted to placate his party group by giving them a holiday in the Philippines at the expense of the taxpayers.
Several SLFP MPs., including Dilan Perera, Nishantha Mutuhettigama, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Dushmantha Mithrapala, Lasantha Alagiyawann, Angajan Ramanathan and Sriyani Wijewickrema were seen touring in the Philippines with President Maithripala Sriisena.
Foreign Minister Thilak Marapana was the only Cabinet minister who took part in the President’s tour during which he signed five MOUs with the Philipinnes.
The SLFP MPs who accompanied the President also took part in bilateral discussions between the high-profile delegations representing the two countries. Informed government sources said the inclusion of SLFP MPs in the bilateral discussions was a “waste of time” as they had no authority to make decisions on behalf of the government nor did they wield any positional power.
“They seemed clueless during the discussions. The representatives from the host country tried their best to make the Sri Lankan delegation feel at home. But, they too realized that the Sri Lankan delegation largely consisted of opposition MPs who did not wield any power. The President’s tour of Philippines is a colossal waste of public money,” a highly placed government source told Colombo Telegraph.
During the tour, Sirisena also drew condemnation from the civilized world when he publicly lauded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war” against drugs which resulted in unlawful killings of tens of thousands of drug suspects in the country.