Aquino arrives late for Mass; blames brownout

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2010 10:50 AM | Updated as of Jul 08 2010 12:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - A power outage at his Times Street home kept President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III awake into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, causing him to wake up late and miss a morning Mass for government leaders in Intramuros.

The President arrived an hour late for the 9 a.m. Mass at the Manila Cathedral, which was attended by members of his Cabinet and the judiciary. The Mass was supposed to start at 9 a.m. but was moved to 9:30 a.m. after the President failed to arrive on time.

Instead of going to the front of the Church, the new president opted to stay near a side entrance.

He later led the congregation in a prayer for the nation's leaders to set aside personal ambition for the good of the country.

In an interview, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino went home late after attending a Liberal Party seminar in Tagaytay Tuesday evening. He said Aquino could not sleep because of a blackout in his Times Street residence.

Power was restored at 2 a.m., he said.

Zaldy de Layola, the President's trusted aide, said Aquino must have been very tired after a full day of activity in Malacañang before going to the LP meeting in Tagaytay. He said they arrived at the Aquino residence at midnight, only to find out that the power was out.

"Napagod siguro ang Pangulo, pero nakahanda na ngayon," he said before they left the house at 9:36 a.m.

Despite running behind schedule, Aquino's convoy did not use blaring sirens to go to the church. He arrived at the Manila Cathedral at 10 a.m., right after the homily of Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales.

The Mass is celebrated in commemoration of the occasion when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus Christ and His disciples. Rosales said the Mass is intended for the country's new leaders and members of the judiciary.

Among those who attended the Mass were Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Vice-President Jejomar Binay and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim. With reports from Ruby Tayag and Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News