By Deighton Acuin


Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte’s no-show at former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s funeral is possibly meant to avoid overcrowding.

During a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that after a meeting in the Palace, Duterte had intended to go to the Heritage Memorial Park but learned that the ashes were brought to the former’s ancestral residence in Times Street, Quezon City.

“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,” he said.

“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.

Moreover, Roque said the chief executive expressed his condolences by having a conversation with the Aquino family. The President also signed a proclamation declaring June 24 until July 3 as the National Period of Mourning of which Philippine flags are flying at half-staff at all offices and establishments during the period.

“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,” the Palace official said.

On Thursday, June 28, Aquino was brought to the Capitol Medical Center after his long-time help Yolly Yabes discovered that the former was still sitting in a recliner chair and the position was the same when she left him on Wednesday night, June 23.

The family then confirmed that Noynoy Aquino “died peacefully in his sleep” as he suffered renal disease secondary to diabetes.

Aquino was inurned on Saturday, May 25 beside his parents, democracy icons Corazon “Cory” Aquino and Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City.