MANILA – As the remains of the 42 out of the 44 fallen heroes from the Philippine National Police – Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City from Mamasapano, Maguindanao, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the inauguration of the new Mitsubishi Motors Philippines car manufacturing plant.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon did not mince words as he expressed his disappontment on the President’s absence.
“[It] speaks volumes of the president’s lack of basic respect for his servicemen,” Ridon said. “Aquino’s cold, unfeeling heart cannot even sympathize briefly to the families of the fallen SAF officers. It is truly despicable, especially for the commander-in-chief.”
Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte was quick to address the criticisms aimed at the President, saying that he was not scheduled to attend the arrival honors ceremony but will lead the necrological services in Camp Bagong Diwa on Friday.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma also came to the President’s defense.
“The president already expressed his grief last night, has shown in his actions that he grieves with them,” said Coloma, referring to Wednesday night’s nation address.
Aquino paid his gratitude to Mitsubishi for its continued investment in the country and for helping create employment for Filipinos.
The President, who happens tk be a car afficionado himself, took a tour of the 21-hectare facility. It has the capacity to produce 50,000 cars in a year.
Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa were also present in the inauguration.