Philippines goes ahead with ASEAN meet after foiling attack

"At least verbally he said he was coming", said Paynor during a press conference in Manila. "But he seems to be very busy", he said, adding, "If he's coming, it would be good for the country, for all of us". And the United States is seen to play a keener role in ASEAN, going by Malacañang's remarks on Wednesday about US President Donald J. Trump's attendance in the November meetings.

Duterte has also likened himself to the American leader, whom he described as "a realist and a pragmatic thinker".

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is scheduled to visit the Philippines on April 27 while Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to arrive the following day.

Manila will host the 30th Asean Summit on April 26-29. "But it's sometime in early May", Bolivar said, adding that the meeting is confirmed but the details are still being worked out.

Paynor said there had been requests from other Asean leaders to have bilateral discussions with the President but stressed that the latter's schedule is "so tight". "But for the most part, these are just pleasantries and, you know, reiteration of cooperation between the two countries and stuff like that", Paynor said.

On April 29, he said, all the 10 leaders of the ASEAN nations will convene at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and a "retreat" session at the Coconut Palace, next to PICC. "So we're doing all that and because of this most recent incident, we are beefing up our security elements", he said.

According to Paynor, organizers expect complete attendance from ASEAN member states at the upcoming summit - which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In response to the White House invitation, the Philippine president also invited Trump to attend the 2017 ASEAN Summit, which will be hosted by the Philippines.