MANILA - How did the government secure guests for the inauguration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte?
There were three layers of security set up by the Presidential Security Group to ensure that only those invited will be shuttled from the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City to the inaugural venue at Malacañang Palace in Manila.
The first security layer checked the inaugural invitation of the guests, the second verified their vehicle pass, and the third, which was set at the entrance of the PICC tent, inspected invitations again.
The media was not invited to the breakfast event for inaugural guests and was relegated outside the gates of the PICC.
Only the 637 guests, who were mostly residents of Davao City or personal friends of Duterte, were allowed to enter the PICC tent.
Among them is retired Army General Abraham Bagasin who came from Cagayan Valley and served as Duterte's head of security in Northern Luzon during the campaign.
Bagasin said he was fortunate to have a chance to personally witness the inaugural rites.
"Personally, masaya ako na nabigyan ng pagkakataon, ina-idolize ko s'ya, tiwala ako sa kanya," he said.
Joseph Lim, another guest, was barred from entering the venue because his invitation bore the name of his son David, a close friend of Duterte.
There were guests who came in flashy vehicles but there were also those who arrived on board taxis at the PICC compound.
At least 15 buses shuttled the guests from the PICC to Malacañang for the inauguration program that started at 10 a.m.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters that aside from the 637 guests with invitations, there were 1,000 others placed under wait list. They will only be given invitations when somebody backs out from the initial guest list.