The Presidential chopper arrives at the Batasan Complex. SCREEN GRAB FROM RTVM
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte arrived Monday afternoon at the House of Representatives in Quezon City for his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Duterte was supposed to address the nation at 4 p.m. but he arrived at Batasan Complex around 4:53 p.m.
Duterte, who used to deliver off-the-cuff remarks during his previous Sonas, is expected to read his 19-page prepared speech that would last for 40 to 45 minutes.
According to Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo, the President’s fourth Sona speech would just be “short,” and will not likely discuss the government’s accomplishments in the past year as these were already done during the three pre-SONA fora.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the President will tackle in his speech the issues of corruption, illegal drugs, terrorism, and the West Philippine Sea, among others.
In his Sona last year, Duterte spoke for around 48 minutes only.
READ: Duterte to deliver ‘short’ 2019 Sona — Palace | How ‘short’ is Duterte’s 4th Sona?
Last year, Duterte’s Sona was also overshadowed by the sudden House leadership coup when former Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo was elected to replace Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez to the speakership, a scheme supposedly maneuvered by Presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. This caused Duterte’s 2018 Sona to be delayed by almost an hour.
READ: Sona already delayed by 30 minutes
But that would not be the case this year as lawmakers on Monday opened the 18th Congress by electing Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as House Speaker, in line with Duterte’s earlier proposal. /je
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