MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte had threatened that he would skip his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) if the House of Representatives would not get its act together on the election of its Speaker, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Monday.
Go said Duterte issued this warning on Sunday evening as he was practicing for his fourth SONA.
“Sabi ni Pangulong Duterte ayaw niyang maulit ang nakaraang taon na natagalan ang SONA. It was delayed for an hour,” Go told reporters.
(President Duterte said he does not want a repeat of last year’s SONA which was delayed for an hour.)
Last year’s SONA was delayed as House members staged a coup to remove then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and install Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker.
“Kung mauulit at magkagulo at walang Speaker… at walang maayos na Kongreso, hindi na raw siya pupunta. Magpapahinga na lang daw siya sa bahay.”
(If there would be a repeat of last year’s delay and there would be no Speaker… and Congress is not able to get its act together, he will just skip SONA and rest at home.)
But based on the latest developments at the House, Duterte may no longer have to make good on his threat as lawmakers have elected Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker.
Duterte had endorsed Cayetano, his former foreign secretary and failed 2016 running mate, for a 15-month term as Speaker under a term-sharing agreement with his party PDP-Laban's Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who will serve for 21 months.