Former Pres. Ramos not joining Duterte's China visit

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(File photo) Former President Fidel Ramos

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Former President Fidel Ramos will not be joining President Rodrigo Duterte's October 18 to 21 trip to China, despite the fact that he is Malacañang's special envoy to Beijing.

Related: Ramos to stand as special envoy to China over maritime dispute

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said this was confirmed to him by Ramos himself on October 8.

"Nung nag-usap po kami ni former President Fidel V. Ramos nung nakaraang Sabado, ang sinabi niya po ay hindi siya sasama," Andanar told reporters on Thursday. [Translation: When I spoke with former President Fidel V. Ramos last Saturday, he said he will not join (Duterte's China trip).]

Andanar said Ramos did not give a reason for not jointing the President. However, the cabinet official believes that Ramos' decision was made out of respect for President Rodrigo Duterte, "sapagkat kung dalawang presidente po any pupunta doon, siyemepreng posibleng mahati ang atensyon [because the attention would be divided if two presidents go there]."

In an opinion piece published in the Manila Bulletin on Saturday, Ramos said the Philippines was "losing badly" during the first 100 days of Duterte's six-year term. "This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us," the former president wrote.

Among other things, Ramos said Duterte's "mix of 'off-and-on' statements" on Philippines-U.S. relations, particularly on security and economic matters, were "discombobulating."

Andanar pointed out that Ramos remains as the President's special envoy to China, and said that Ramos joined the President's security cluster meeting last Saturday. 

Ramos accepted Duterte's invitation to stand for the position last July. The former president visited Hong Kong from August 8 to 12 and met with  National People's Congress Foreign Affairs Committee Chair and former ambassador to the Philippines Fu Ying, and Wu Shicun, President of China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Upon returning to the Philippines, he told reporters that his meeting was "very encouraging."

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.