THE inauguration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte at Malacañang's Rizal Hall on June 30 is interesting in a number of ways, one of which is because of one person missing from the affair. By tradition, the president and the vice-president hold a joint inauguration, with the vice-president taking the oath first followed by the president. Duterte dispensed with that and decided to hold an inauguration separate from that of Vice President-elect Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

The Robredo camp has already accepted that setup and has scheduled her inauguration at the modest “Boracay Mansion” in Quezon City, a property that is still to be repaired and refurbished, at around 10:30 in the morning of June 30. The “Boracay Mansion” will also function as the VP's office after Robredo shunned the lavish Coconut Palace where outgoing VP Jejomar Binay holds fort.

The Duterte camp's official reason for breaking with tradition by holding an inauguration separate from the VP is that the president-elect wants a low-key inauguration with only around 500 guests invited. Meaning that Robredo, her relatives and the guests that she would invite could no longer be accommodated at Malacañang's Rizal Hall.

Actually, it is not only Robredo that has become the casualty in Duterte's “pa-low-key” inauguration. Martin Andanar, the incoming head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, recently said that only the government-owned Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) would be allowed inside Rizal Hall. The rest of the media people will be given a work station outside of the venue. Giant networks like GMA, ABS-CBN and TV 5 will end up borrowing video footage from RTVM.

The setup would probably suit Robredo well, considering her nature. She shuns the limelight and frowns on the lavish, so an inauguration in Quezon City in a small venue would not matter to her. She earlier announced that she would take her oath before Ronaldo Coner, barangay captain of Punta Tarawal in Calabanga, Camarines Sur. Duterte will take his oath before Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, a schoolmate from the San Beda Law School.

But here's another interesting point about the Duterte inauguration. The Duterte camp has still to release the list of those invited to Malacañang, but one intriguing question already asked is this: Will the Marcoses be invited? We all know what Duterte's relationship was with the political rival that Robredo defeated, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., during the campaign for the May 9 polls. Duterte was more partial to him than to his running mate, Alan Peter Cayetano.

That closeness extended even after the elections, with Duterte trying to marginalize Robredo while sidling up to Marcos. Some Duterte critics say that this could be the real reason why the president-elect is pushing for a separate inauguration so he could accommodate the Marcoses. But I am not saying that having the Marcoses as guests in the presidential inauguration is illegal. I just said that it would be interesting.

For one, it would be symbolic of how far the Marcoses have succeeded in rehabilitating their political stock after their ouster from Malacañang during the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising. They are back, at least, in the corridors of power. And the Marcoses setting foot again in Malacañang? Goosebumps for them. That was the place where Imelda reigned supreme for two decades and where Bongbong and his sisters Imee and Irene grew up.

The Marcoses back in Malacañang? Indeed, that will be the day.

( twitter: @khanwens)