Aquino arrives late for Red Mass at Manila Cathedral

07/07/2010 - The Catholic bishops' sponsored Mass for the members of the judiciary and the legal community began Wednesday morning even before President Benigno Aquino III arrived for the celebration.

President Aquino arrived midway into the Red Mass at the Manila Cathedral, particularly during the homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

The Mass was originally scheduled at 9 a.m. but started 30 minutes later.

A GMA Flash Report said the President failed to get up early because he was able to sleep only early dawn Wednesday.

A brownout hit the President's residence and power was restored around 2 a.m., the report said, adding that Aquino had to review some documents early in the morning.

Aquino left his house in Quezon City at 9:30 a.m. and arrived at the Cathedral at 10 a.m., the report said.

In a chance interview with reporters, Aquino also said he had an upset stomach.

GMANews.TV spotted early at the Cathedral Vice President Jejomar Binay and some members of the Aquino Cabinet: Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Justice chief Leila de Lima, Finance chief Cesar Purisima, Defense chief Voltaire Gazmin, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras, Education chief Armin Luistro, Foreign Affairs chief Alberto Romulo, Labor chief Rosalinda Baldoz, and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Also seen at the Mass were Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona, Commission on Elections chair Jose Melo and Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares.

In the Catholic tradition, the Red Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.

It originated in Europe and derives its name from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles at Pentecost (GMA NEWS)

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