MANILA — Despite being unable to attend the wake of Vice President Leni Robredo’s mother, Salvacion “Sally” Santo Tomas Gerona, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he sympathized by sending flowers.
In a chance interview with reporters in Malacañang, Duterte admitted that he could not attend the wake but condoled with Robredo on the death of her mother.
Admitting that he has yet to speak to Robredo over the phone, he expressed grief during this trying time.
“I’d like to say now that I am sad and I share her grief. I also lost a [mother],” Duterte said.
Although he could not attend the wake, he hoped that his presence would be felt when she received the flowers.
“I conveyed my condolences and the flowers…kasama man sa kultura natin (It’s part of our culture). We do it with flowers,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in an earlier press briefing, said that he will be representing Duterte at the wake, since the latter is swamped with work.
He said Duterte has expressed desire to attend the wake but had to prioritize work.
“He wants to go pero ang daming trabaho kasi. Ako nalang siguro muna (but there’s so much work. I’ll go there instead). I’ll be representing him,” he said.
Panelo is also a native of Naga City, Camarines Sur like Robredo.
Robredo’s mother died on Saturday, 7:27 p.m. She was 83.
Her remains lie in state at the Eternal Chapels and Mortuary, Eternal Gardens, Balatas Road in Naga City.
Fondly called “Sally”, she was an English teacher who served at the Universidad de Sta. Isabel in Naga, one of the oldest schools in the Philippines. (iamigo/sovereignph.com/PNA)