Palace: Santiago must have read another Sona

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Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda: She said that? INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Wednesday expressed disbelief at Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s comment that President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) sounded like a college paper that missed out on poverty and employment.

“She said that?” a surprised presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a Malacañang briefing when told about the outspoken senator’s

remarks on the Sona. “Wow.”

Contrary to the senator’s observation, Lacierda said Aquino was “very

emphatic” about addressing poverty, unemployment and inclusive growth.

“The President began with ‘we’re not happy with the trickle-down.’ What does that mean? Does that mean we’re not addressing poverty? Does that mean we’re not addressing unemployment? When you say inclusive growth, it’s going to identify, it’s going to say, it’s going to enumerate what we are doing,” he said.

In fact, Lacierda said that Aquino spelled out several points to boost manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and other industries, and expand the economy “so that we’ll have fiscal space to provide for our less privileged.”

“What more can she not see in the State of the Nation Address? You know it’s… I am speechless,” he said, chuckling. “It’s how many pages? It was, well, it was 55 pages. Fifty-five pages long and, if you can’t find any word there on generating employment; if you can’t find any statement there addressing poverty, then you must be reading another Sona or another speech—definitely not from the President,” he said.

Hard on corruption

In his Sona that lasted for an hour and 42 minutes, Aquino rambled about his administration’s accomplishments for an hour before laying out his legislative agenda, and came down hard on corruption in his administration.

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