“The one thing I really like about the Sona is that the senadoras and congresswomen are all beautiful. Obviously, they’ve been to the parlor, all made up. The coiffure, the ternos,” Arroyo gushed in a radio interview.
And even the men refuse to be outdone.
“They wear barong that are obviously being worn for the first time ever. It’s all beautiful. It’s really a fashion parade,” Arroyo said of the yearly spectacle.
Still, the senator does not plan to attend this year’s “party” at the Batasan complex—maybe the nearest Filipino equivalent to a Hollywood red carpet event.
In fact, Arroyo said the last Sona he attended was back in the time of then President Fidel Ramos when he was still a Makati congressman.
And on that occasion, he remembered leaving the congressional hall before anyone else did.
“Nobody calls the roll, anyway,” Arroyo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Attendance is not compulsory … Nobody notices that I’m not there. Nobody misses or looks for me,” he added.
Still, he makes up for his once-a-year absence by being present in all sessions of whichever chamber he is a member of.
“I attend faithfully the everyday sessions just not the one where everyone needs to go to the parlor first,” he quipped.
Arroyo said he had been to a lot of Sonas since those dating from the time of the late President Corazon Aquino, who appointed him her first executive secretary.
“It’s always the same,” he said. “The President would note the things he achieved and what he plans to do next. But that is to be expected.”
“Every President undergoes this ritual,” he explained.