MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino was not scheduled to join the arrival honors for the slain cops in Maguindanao, Malacañang clarified on Thursday.
After receiving negative reactions for Aquino’s absence at Villamor Airbase, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte explained the President is instead scheduled to lead the necrological services at Camp Bagong Diwa at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Valte told Palace reporters that the government officials assigned to lead the arrival honors were Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.
According to media report, however, said PNP officials expected Aquino’s presence at the event.
Instead, Aquino, the day after giving a national address on the Mamasapano encounter that left 44 PNP Special Action Force (SAF) members dead, attended the inauguration of a manufacturing plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
The President’s decision angered netizens, especially after declaring a National Day of Mourning for the policemen who were allegedly killed in an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Sunday.
Twitter users said Aquino seemed to have prioritized business over sympathizing with the family of the slain policemen.