Duterte visits wake of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Vidal

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Cebu City (CNN Philippines, October 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte says he will declare a holiday for the entire province of Cebu on Thursday, October 26 - the day of the burial of Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal - as he paid his last respects to the cardinal, early Monday.

He was welcomed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where the wake was being held as the crowd started to thicken inside the Church to catch a glimpse of the President.

Duterte apologized to the crowd for not being able to immediately visit the wake since he was preoccupied with a lot of activities in Manila.

"Wala dayon ko kabisita dayun kay busy kaayo ko..Mo deklarar ko ug holiday sa tibuok Cebu inig adlaw sa lubong sa Huwebes (I wasn't able to visit soon because I was so busy. I will declare a holiday in the entire Cebu on the burial; day on Thursday)," Duterte said.


Cardinal Vidal died on October 18 due to infection leading to septic shock.  The Palace extended its condolences on the same day, saying the President and Cardinal Vidal had a "friendly, cordial relationship."

The President said Cardinal Vidal was the first Catholic Church leader to visit him when he assumed office in 2016.

Duterte, whose roots are traced in Cebu, flew in after he attended Bacolod's MassKara Festival on Sunday night.

"Kung ako'y mamatay Iampo lang ko ninyo ug apil ha (If I die too, please also pray for me)," Duterte added.

At the wake, Archbishop Palma in a speech expressed gratitude to the President for taking time to visit the Cathedral. He wished and prayed for blessing and guidance for Duterte.

Tight security was imposed inside and outside the Cathedral last night. Police and traffic personnel blocked off to traffic surrounding roads.

The long lines of people who wanted to pay their respects to the Cardinal were momentarily stopped to secure the area. There was limited access to several portions of the church.

Staying for about 30 minutes inside the Church, the President personally expressed his condolences to the relatives of Cardinal Vidal.

He was also seen carrying an infant great granddaughter of Cardinal Vidal's brother. Before leaving, he delivered a 15 minute speech in front of the crowd.

He kissed the coffin of the Cardinal before leaving the Cathedral and flying back to Manila.