On August 7, Saturday Remonde confirmed the dinner did in fact take place. He said it was Rep. Romualdez who paid for dinner and denied knowing how much it cost.
It was Congressman Martin Romualdez who invited the First Couple to dinner at Le Cirque in New York. As to how much the dinner costs, Malacañang does not know as it was the host who chose the menu and picked up the tab...On August 9, he said the amount was exaggerated and said there were 15 to 20 people in their retinue. He also downplayed the "ritziness" of Le Cirque. I guess he forgot the a few clicks on the internet would disprove his claim. The dinner was not only "simple", it also lasted for "one hour." Exhibiting ignorance over who broke the news, Remonde conveniently pins the blame on the "communist front" Bayan "which has never ceased in its agitation propaganda against the government."
Sen. Miriam Santiago, who was with the Philippine delegation, was quick to say she did not join the Le Cirque diners. She even reproached the Palace:
Ang payo ko lang sa kanila ay huwag nang pagtakpan at sabihin ang totoo at mangako na hindi na uulitin. It was a mistake in judgment...Sen. Santiago also said Sen. Lapid, who was one of the diners, did not enjoy the meal. [ETA 8:07 @popisunga on twitter also pointed out that Lapid saying "Sabi niya, grabe naman itong restaurant na eto, katagal tagal dumating ng order" contradicts Remonde's claim that the whole shebang was over in an hour.]
On the same day, another Le Cirque diner Rep. Suarez also says it was Rep. Romualdez who paid for the bill at the invitation of the latter's brother who is an architect based in New York. But his story recounts 50 diners instead of the original 15-20.
We were more than 50 in our group, the President’s security and the secret service joined us.Today, Rep. Romualdez' staff Nick Esmale denies it was the congressman who made the payment, but his architect brother.
In the past few days the story has changed but one thing has not been denied by the Romualdez camp, the amount of $20,000.
Maybe tomrrow will yield new information...abangan!
The day isn't yet over and we already have new tidbits. Rep. Villarosa of last-minute-call-to-Speaker-Noggie-to-halt-transmission-of-the-Magna-Carta-for-Women fame said they also ate at Wolfgang Steakhouse and Rep. Mandanas recounts eating at Bouley's.
As she trail-blazed through les États-Unis, GMA left thousand-dollar meals in her wake...and here they come a-haunting. The Washington Post reports GMA's retinue had a $15,000 meal at Bobby Van's Steakhouse. Hat tip to Manolo for breaking the news.
The group took over one of the restaurant's private rooms and dined on lobster, steak and fine wines; at the conclusion of the meal, an unidentified woman opened a handbag stuffed with cash, counted out bills and paid the $15,000 tab -- which included a generous tip. The Philippine Embassy did not return calls for comment Tuesday.The NY Post does a follow-up, also reporting this other meal.
The wonders of globalization. Hayluveeeet.