Duterte skips EDSA rites

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President Rodrigo Duterte will not be attending the 31st EDSA anniversary celebration on Friday in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, a Palace official confirmed on Thursday.

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Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte will be in Davao City to attend the relaunch of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Abella said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will stand in for the President.

“If you are asking what he will be doing tomorrow, there’s going to be the Bangsamoro Transition thing in Davao,” Abella told reporters.

Earlier, Malacanang said it will hold a low-key celebration of the 31st anniversary of the People Power revolt in 1986 that led to the ouster of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

The government dropped the traditional “Salubungan” at the People Power Monument in Quezon City, saying it wants to give Filipinos more time to reflect on the causes and effects of the historic revolution.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos, a key figure in the People Power revolution, had hoped Duterte would give due recognition to the event “as one of the country’s treasures and gifts to the world.”

Duterte, a Marcos fan, allowed the burial of former strongman at the Heroes’ Cemetery last year, drawing protests from various groups.

Meanwhile, Abella said it was uncalled for former senator Rene Saguisag refer to Duterte as the new “Macoy.” “Macoy” was one of the monickers of Marcos.

“You know, Senator Saguisag has emotional ties to these things and, you know, we’re not downgrading that. I’m just saying that he also feels very strongly and perhaps he wants it to be celebrated in a more grandiose way,” he said.

“But going back to whether he’s the new Macoy, the President is the new Macoy, you know, I think, the comparison is too broad and uncalled for,” he added.

Saguisag, in a television interview, expressed exasparation over the Duterte administration’s decision to hold a simpler EDSA People Power anniversary celebration this year.

“To me, as one who played a role… it is saddening because that was one bright shining moment na we shocked and awed the whole world,” Saguisag said.

CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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