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Aquino no-show at arrival honors for SAF troopers, goes to car plant

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday was not present at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City where the remains of the slain members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNPSAF) were given arrival honors.

Aquino attended the inauguration of the Mitsubishi Motors' plant in Santa Rosa City in Laguna and delivered a speech.

The President was with Trade and Investment Secretary Gregory Domingo and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte defended Aquino's absence at the arrival honors, saying he did not skip the event.

Valte clarified that Aquino was not originally scheduled to be at the Villamor Air Base. He will, however, lead the necrological service at Camp Bagong Diwa tomorrow.

On Thursday morning, 42 of the 44 police commandos who were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao during an armed encounter with members of ther Moro Islamic Liberation Front were airlifted from Mindanao.

Several government officials attended the arrival honors for the elite cops, including Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Bongbong Marcos

The President has declared Friday as a national day of mourning.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday night, Aquino honored the fallen cops as heroes.

"Bilang Pangulo, bilang Ama ng Bayan, napakalungkot pong isipin na kinailangang magbuwis ng buhay ng ating kapulisan sa misyong ito. At kung mayroon nga pong depinisyon ang bayani, sila na iyon," Aquino said.

AQUINO

BILANG PANGULO

BONGBONG MARCOS

CAMP BAGONG DIWA

DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABIGAIL VALTE

MITSUBISHI MOTORS

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT

ON THURSDAY

PASAY CITY

VILLAMOR AIR BASE

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