Duterte wants to pay respects to Robredo’s late mother but has work: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2020 05:49 PM | Updated as of Feb 26 2020 09:04 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte. Composite

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte would like to visit the wake of Vice President Leni Robredo’s mother but has a lot of work to do, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said he would instead represent Duterte at the wake of Ma. Salvacion Gerona in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

“He wants to go pero ang daming trabaho kasi (but he has a lot of work to do). Ako na lang siguro muna (I’ll be the one going there). I’ll be representing him,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang. 

Even if he couldn’t visit, Duterte said he conveyed his condolences and sent flowers for the wake.

“I conveyed my condolences. And --- well the flowers. Kasali man sa kultura natin 'yan. We do it with flowers,” he told reporters in Malacañang. 

Duterte added that he wasn’t able to speak to Robredo but noted that he shares her grief.

“I'd like to say now that I am sad and I share her grief. I also lost a father once upon a time,” he said.

The country's top two leaders are on the opposite sides of the political fence.

Gerona died Saturday at the age of 83. Robredo did not specify her mother's ailment but said last month that her condition "turned for the worse" but later improved.

The Palace earlier sent its condolences to the vice president and her family.