PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo went to The Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig past 4 a.m. Wednesday to pay her respect to the late Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

“He will be sorely missed,” said Arroyo of Remonde who passed away due to cardiac arrest before noon Tuesday.

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Arroyo had a 30-minute conversation with Remonde’s wife Marit recalling the happy memories she had with the press secretary.

“(Just recently) In Hong Kong, we had a birthday party for him because he was with us in Hong Kong before the Christmas. He said serendipitous because the resto was name of his father… Felix,” Arroyo shared to the Malacañang Press Corps.

Asked about her fondest memory with Remonde, she said: “He got along very well with my grandson Diggy because Cerge has no children so he was very fond of my grandson…”

The President cited that Remonde was one of the longest if not the longest serving Cabinet member since 2001. “I first asked him to handle Channel 13, then Channel 9, and then the whole government media then Presidential Management Staff then Press Secretary.”

Also, she announced that a necrological service for the late Cabinet secretary will be held in Malacañang at the Heroes Hall.

Arroyo will convene the Malacañang Press Corps. for lunch Thursday before she will go to the wake.

Meanwhile, the President during an interview with reporters personally confirmed the appointment of Conrado “Dodie” Limcauco, head of the Philippine Information Agency, as acting Press Secretary in replacement of Remonde.

“Is that okay with you guys?” she asked reporters followed by a loud laugh. “He has to be someone you can get along with.”

Arroyo also vowed that proper citations will be given to Remonde for his outstanding service to the government.

On Wednesday, during the traditional Vin D’ Honneur at the Palace, Executive Eduardo Ermita said that Order of Lakandula will be conferred to Remonde.

Prior to Arroyo’s statement at the event, she asked to observe a minute of silence for Remonde, who have always been present in the traditional gathering.

Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, who also attended the simple ceremony, disclosed how sad it is to hold a Vin D’ Honneur without Remonde.

“Definitely it would have been a better and happier Vin D’ Honneur if Press Secretary Cerge Remonde is here,” she said.

Remonde will be laid to rest in his hometown in Argao, Cebu on Sunday.

“Marit decided to fly the remains of the late press secretary to Argao which is a first class municipality in the southeastern portion of Cebu,” said Secretary Ermita. “As of now, the interment will be, as planned by the Mrs. Remonde in Argao, Cebu that is his hometown. This is on Sunday.”

From The Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig, Remonde’s remains will be transported to the Malacanang today (Thursday) and stay there until Friday before it will be flown to Cebu. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)