PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday conveyed his condolences to Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, whose mother, Salvacion Santo Tomas Gerona, recently passed away.
Speaking to reporters, Duterte said he would like to visit the wake of Robredo’s mother but has a lot of work to do.
“If I ever have time, I just came in from Davao. But I sent my (spokesman)… I conveyed my condolences and… flowers. Sali man sa kultura natin. We do it with flowers,” Duterte said during a media interview.
“But I’d like to say now that I’m sad and I share her grief. I also lost a father once upon a time,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said that he would be representing Duterte.
“We reiterate our condolences to the family of VP Leni on the demise of the mother. I’m going there to express our condolences today (Wednesday),” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“He (Duterte) wants to go pero ang daming trabaho kasi (but he has a lot of work). Ako nalang siguro muna (I’ll go in his place instead). I’ll be representing him,” he added.
Panelo, who also hails from Naga City, Camarines Sur, previously claimed that he and the Vice President were friends.
He had described Robredo’s late mother as “selfless and dedicated teacher who molded countless of young minds across generations.”
Robredo’s mother died on Saturday at 7:27 p.m. She was 83.
Fondly called “Sally,” Robredo’s mother was an English teacher who served at the Universidad de Sta. Isabel in Naga, one of the oldest schools in the Philippines.
Her wake began on Sunday at the Eternal Chapels and Mortuary, Eternal Gardens, Balatas Road in Naga City. CATHERINE S. VALENTE