Over 600 guests to attend Duterte’s inauguration

The Philippine Star

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The guests invited to the inauguration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte at Malacañang on June 30 have increased, incoming presidential communications officer Martin Andanar said yesterday.

Andanar said the guest list has increased to 627 people from the initial 500.

He said the number of guests increased because there are personalities who needed to attend the presidential inauguration because of the office they represent. 

Included in the list are members of the diplomatic corps, lawmakers, justices, as well as ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Cabinet members and some 150 personal guests of the president-elect. 

Duterte opted to hold his inauguration at the Rizal ceremonial hall in Malacañang so as not to inconvenience a lot of people.

Incoming presidents have by tradition been sworn in at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, but Duterte said he does not want to cause traffic jams along Roxas Boulevard.

Duterte’s ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman and their children, Davao City Mayor Sara and Vice Mayor Paolo, as well as Sebastian and their grandchildren are expected to attend the inauguration.

Andanar said journalists are still off-limits from the ceremonial hall, but a number of private TV networks would be allowed to put up their equipment at the Malacañang grounds near Gate 4. 

“At least for their reporting they could have Malacañang Palace as their background,” he said. 

Andanar and other members of the incoming communication team had a meeting with Elizabeth Hernandez and other Facebook executives for live streaming the inaugural rites on June 30. 

Seeing the change

Filipinos will see a “different” Duterte when he assumes office as the 16th president of the republic in his inauguration on June 30.

This was according to Melchor Quitain, who served as city administrator under Duterte for several years.

“He will be a different person when he takes his oath of office as president,” Quitain told The STAR. 

As to how different, Quitain said Duterte would play his role as one befitting the Office of the President.

Duterte himself said there would be a metamorphosis when he assumes as president of the country.

“From caterpillar, just wait, I will be butterfly by that time,” Duterte earlier told reporters. 

Quitain, who also served as Duterte’s speechwriter, said the incoming president had asked him to write his inaugural speech.

“His speech will be in English and will only be five minutes long,” he said. 

Quitain said the speech would be straightforward and would cover what Duterte would like to convey to the nation and what to expect from his presidency.

He revealed Duterte is not comfortable speaking the national language, particularly in long speeches. 

Quitain said he has submitted the draft speech to Duterte’s executive assistant Christopher Go and another copy to Andanar.

Quitain, however, said the length of the inaugural speech might be changed, as Duterte might choose to shorten it further.

“It all really depends on him,” he added. 

Quitain said the gist of the speech would be the need for everyone to take part in the new chapter of the country’s history.

“It is conveying the message that people must help and let us all move together in this, especially since Duterte is not only the president of the 16.6 million who voted for him in the May 9 elections but … of the entire country,” he said.

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