Asked at a foreign correspondents’ forum on Wednesday if he was following Vice President Jejomar Binay’s lead and go to Laude’s wake, Mr. Aquino replied: “In general, I don’t attend wakes of people I don’t know. I’m uncomfortable with trying to condole with people who don’t know me. How can I say that I really sympathize with them by trying to assuage their loss at that point?” 

kung hindi nauna na si vp binay sa pakikiramay in person sa pamilyang laude sa olongapo, would the president have replied in the same manner?  maybe not.  and then, again, who knows.  we have a president who doesn’t seem to care much about his public relations, really, as though he didn’t need pogi points at all, if not for himself (six more years?), then for the liberal party’s annointed (six more years nga).

tulad ng sabi ni benjamin pimentel: Aquino didn’t have to go to the wake but …

A citizen of his country has been murdered. The suspect is a member of an ally’s military force. It’s an ally he may need as he takes on a bully in the region. But that bully, China, is pushing hard to paint him (and the Philippines) as nothing more than a US stooge, a puppet of Washington. And at home, there are those who also see Aquino as incapable for embracing a path independent of Washington, a leader whose vaunted courage in taking on a regional bully is based on nothing more than a foolish hope that the Americans would actually do the fighting for the Philippines.

Showing up at Laude’s wake would have sent the message that Aquino also has the courage to declare that, while he is prepared to take on China, his people’s welfare, especially those of the most vulnerable, is more important than a military alliance with an ally.

Besides, that ally, the United States, known for being the dominant factor in Philippine politics, already sent a strong signal that it wasn’t going to play games just to save a marine accused of murder.

Even before the US Military turned Private Joseph Pemberton over to Philippine authorities, US Secretary of State John Kerry already said: ”Whatever charges there are, whatever infractions have been affected by any American anywhere, we believe in the rule of law, and we believe in our agreement. ….

“The people of the Philippines who are gracious enough to permit an arrangement whereby we meet mutual interests with this kind of a force’s presence need to know that we’re not seeking a special privilege, that everybody’s rights will be appropriately protected.”

Aquino could have affirmed that message himself at Laude’s wake. Unfortunately, PNoy just isn’t comfortable about doing something like that.

Instead of grabbing the chance to reframe the country’s long complicated relationship with the United States, PNoy gets pinged by a clever Facebook post poking fun at his “I-don’t-attend-wakes-of-people-I-don’t know’ statement.

The Facebook post shows a photo of the hundreds of thousands who attended Ninoy Aquino’s funeral in 1983.

“Mahiya ka naman sa tatay mo,” the post says.

gets ko naman na di niya type umeksena sa olongapo given the hysterics of the family — nothing quiet or genteel about them — over u.s. custody of pemberton.  pero di ko gets why he could not even express condolences the way the u.s. ambassador did.  or why he could not send someone in his stead, you know, like kris and/or boy abunda?


  1. manuel buencamino

    (1) Personal nga sa kanya ang mga wake. He does not deem it proper to use wakes to make political statements unless the killing was politically motivated.
    (2) As to expressing condolences like an American ambassador, maybe next time we should vote for a presidential candidate who has gone to the State Department Finishing School.
    (3) Bakit walang pumapansin sa ginawa ni Harry Roque at nung German national doon sa detention center?

    • yang (3) ay nakakaloka. i saw it happen on tv and i couldn’t believe that the german got away with the oberdabakod stunt and shoving that soldier aside… lalo akong nabaliw nang bigyan ng plaque of recognition ang kawal for allowing himself to be shoved around and showing such patience with civilians who clearly had broken the law…

  2. manuel buencamino

    Ninoy’s killing was political. Jennifer’s killing was not political in the sense that Ninoy’s murder was. People went to Ninoy’s wake spontaneously. In Jennifer’s case, anti-US and LGBTs are using her to create a issue. But no amount of histrionics is going to convince the public that her killing is the direct result of a military alliance with the US.

    Benjamin Pimentel’s op-ed is nothing more than a pathetic anti-Aquino rant dressed in the Philippine flag.