In Caloocan, Mayor Oscar Malapitan (top photo, left) and Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo wave flags at the Bonifacio Monument while at Rizal Park, Vice President Leni Robredo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano lead the flag-raising event.
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte skipped the early-morning Independence Day rites at Rizal Park in Manila on Monday.
Later in the day, Cayetano told reporters the President would not also attend the Parada ng Kalayaan event at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, which would be held Monday afternoon.
"He will not be able to come this morning. He did not give any reason why", said Abella in Filipino. The country's Chief Executive usually attends the Independence Day rites to commemorate one of the most significant events in Philippine history.
The military earlier announced that it is expecting to liberate Marawi City on Independence Day.
"The Chinese and Philippine peoples have a profound traditional friendship", said the Chinese president, noting that the two countries returned to the right track of good neighborly relations previous year with efforts from both sides.
In lieu of the absent Duterte, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano marched with Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, his former election rival, to offer a wreath to the country's heroes.
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"It's just that he's not feeling well. Puyat na puyat at pagod (He's exhausted from staying up late), nothing to worry about", Cayetano said during a chance interview after the ceremony.
On Sunday, Duterte flew to Cagayan de Oro to visit soldiers wounded from clashes in Marawi.
Earlier, Duterte led the arrival honors at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City for the eight Marines and approached the fatalities' relatives to express his sympathies and condolences.
"I don't have the full details but I received the call around 5:30 a.m. from his people and they said, "No problem". His aides did not force him to get up from bed and force the issue as he only slept for about three hours.
Also present at the ceremony were members of the diplomatic corps, including United States Ambassador Sung Kim and Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea was also clueless about the reason why Duterte chose to not show up at the said event.
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