MANILA – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will have his inauguration at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacañang on June 30.
Incoming Palace communications secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte wants to apologize to Filipinos for not being able to have his inauguration at a larger venue.
"The president would like to apologize to his countrymen as he would not be able to hold his inauguration at a larger space like Quirino Grandstand as he wants his oath taking to be a simple one," Andanar told reporters after Duterte's meeting with his Cabinet members at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Andanar said the Rizal Hall can only accommodate about 500 guests, which is why the President-elect's camp believes it would be better for Vice President-elect Leni Robredo to have a separate inauguration.
''The area can only accommodate 500. You minus the members of the diplomatic corps, the military, police, Congress, 190 is left for president-elect himself. If you add to that Vice President-elect Robredo's guests, they won't be all accommodated,'' Andanar said.
The "limited slots" in the presidential palace will not allow Robredo to invite as many guests as she wants, according to Andanar.
''This imposition will not be fair to Leni,'' said Duterte's aide Bong Go, who is also a member of his inauguration committee.
This will mark the first time in decades that the country's two highest elected officials will be inaugurated separately.
Duterte's inauguration venue, the Rizal Ceremonial Hall, is the largest in Malacañang, according to the official website of the presidential palace.
"It is used for large dinners and large assemblies, notably the mass oath takings of public officials and the annual Independence Day Vin d’Honneur. Orchestras sometimes play from the minstrels’ galleries at the two ends of the hall. This is the room where the lying-in-state of former Presidents is held," the Palace website's description of the hall reads.
Go said the president-elect's June 30 inauguration will "be simple yet meaningful" which is consistent with long-time Davao City mayor's principles on austerity.
INAUGURAL SPEECH, FOOD
According to Andanar, simple food will be served to Duterte's guests, such as ''maruya'' and buko juice.
"One thing's for sure, ang merienda maruya. Finger foods, pero maruya ang pinaka-main. At ang cocktails naman, if I'm not mistaken, it is buko juice," he said.
Andanar said Duterte's speech is being prepared by Davao City Administrator Jesus Melchor Quitain. He said he will help in polishing the speech.
He said it is not yet definite whether Duterte will read his speech on a teleprompter, but noted that the president-elect "liked" using one.
"We sent a teleprompter to Davao and apparently he liked it," he said.
Andanar said he also does not know yet whether Duterte will deliver his speech in English or Filipino.