No Duterte in predecessor’s wake, funeral
MANILA, Philippines — It was an absence that couldn’t help but be noticed.
President Rodrigo Duterte did not attend the wake or inurnment of his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who died on June 24 and was laid to rest on Saturday.
Duterte, who declared a 10-day period of national mourning over the death of the former president, sent flowers to Aquino’s wake at the Church of the Gesu inside Ateneo de Manila University on Friday.
His official schedule released by Malacañang that day did not include a visit to the wake.
The only event calendared was an appearance at Camp Crame, the Philippine National Police headquarters, for the launch and oathtaking ceremony of the National Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers.
There was a plan
The Palace did not issue an advisory on Duterte’s activities for Saturday.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Duterte wanted to go to Heritage Park on Thursday where Aquino’s remains were first brought for cremation. However, by the time the president concluded a meeting in Malacañang, he was informed that the ashes had already been brought to the Aquino residence in Quezon City.
Roque said he had no occasion to meet Duterte in person and was not privy to his activities on Friday and Saturday.
Duterte earlier expressed his condolences to the Aquino family, describing the late former president as “a leader who has given his best to serve the Filipino people.”
He declared a period of national mourning from June 24 to July 3 and ordered national flags at national government buildings in the country and abroad be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset for 10 days.
Aquino’s sister Kris earlier thanked Duterte for his message to the family and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea for offering support to the Aquinos in their time of grief.
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