Palace: Duterte’s absence in Aquino’s inurnment could be to avoid overcrowding
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s absence at former president Benigno S. Aquino III’s inurnment over the weekend could have been because the Chief Executive wanted to avoid overcrowding amid the pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.
“Hindi ko na po alam kung bakit. It could be because it’s pandemic and we’re trying to limit the numbers and of course the presence of the President would encourage crowds,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.
(I don’t know why. It could be because it’s pandemic and we’re trying to limit the numbers and of course the presence of the President would encourage crowds.)
But Roque said Duterte had a personal conversation with members of the Aquino family to extend his condolences.
“There were offers for the family to have all the honors that the Republic can give to a former president. But of course, the Palace had to bow to the wishes of the family for a more subdued ceremony,” Roque said.
Roque reiterated that Duterte had wanted to go to Heritage Park where Aquino’s remains were first brought for cremation, but the ashes had been brought to the Aquino residence in Quezon City after the chief executive’s meeting at Malacañang concluded.
“He wanted to go but he was informed that the urn of the former president had already been moved to the private residence in Times. So hindi na po nakapunta doon si Presidente,” Roque added.
(He wanted to go but he was informed that the urn of the former president had already been moved to the private residence in Times. That’s why the President was not able to go.)
Duterte declared a 10-day period of national mourning from June 24 to July 3 and ordered flags at national government buildings be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset.
Aquino’s family said the former president died peacefully in his sleep on June 24, due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
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