“Did he attend the event last time? He did not. He has not done so for two years. So most likely, he will not attend,” Panelo said at a Palace press briefing.
Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, File
Panelo: ‘Duterte may skip EDSA anniversary again’
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is likely to again skip the commemoration of the anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution next week as he “has a lot of work to do,” his spokesman Salvador Panelo said yesterday.

“Did he attend the event last time? He did not. He has not done so for two years. So most likely, he will not attend,” Panelo said at a Palace press briefing.

But he emphasized the People Power revolt that ousted the Marcos dictatorship and propelled Corazon Aquino to power is “important” to Duterte.

“I remember he issued a statement right? He always issues a statement in support. So it’s important,” the spokesman said. “It’s just a celebration. Many will be there to represent him.”

He explained that Duterte’s skipping of the EDSA 33rd anniversary rites had nothing to do with his alliance with the family of the late dictator.

Duterte’s father Vicente was a Cabinet member of Marcos but his mother Soledad was a supporter of the opposition.

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, daughter of the late strongman, was one of the local executives who backed Duterte’s presidential bid in 2016.

Duterte reciprocated Imee’s support by endorsing her senatorial bid for the 2019 polls.

In 2016, Duterte sparked outrage after he allowed the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. But the President maintained that the late strongman deserved a heroes’ burial because he had been a commander-in-chief and lawmaker.

With or without Duterte, the EDSA rites should be an occasion for the public to denounce his dictatorial tendencies, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said.

“Bayan calls on all democratic forces to commemorate EDSA anniversary and resist new dictatorship... It is important to remember EDSA as we confront the rising tyranny of the Duterte regime,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said in a statement.

“While EDSA did topple a dictator, the rotten social system was not replaced. The social basis for the rise of a new dictatorship – elite rule, foreign intervention, social inequality – all remained,” he added.

The militant group said recent developments like the approval of another extension of martial law in Mindanao, “massive use of public resources to favor candidates of the administration” and the daily human rights violations against civilians are telltale signs of a “new dictatorship.” – With Elizabeth Marcelo, Pia Lee-Brago

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