VP attending Sona, ready for ‘insults’
NAGA CITY—Vice President Leni Robredo is attending President Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 23 despite the advice from some supporters who think she shouldn’t.
“There are people telling me not to go because I might get insulted again,” Robredo said on Friday. “But that is the obligation of the Vice President. I won’t lose anything if I would be insulted. I’m ready to face anything.”
Speaking to reporters on July 10, Mr. Duterte called Robredo “incompetent,” saying she would never be ready to become President. His stinging remarks against Robredo came hours after she said she was willing to lead and unite the opposition against the Duterte administration.
Robredo on Friday said she wanted to hear Mr. Duterte address the “alarming issues” in the country on his third Sona.
“In the first Sona, of course, we heard the President’s aspirations for the country, and in the succeeding Sona we wanted to hear the achievements of the administration,” Robredo said at the press conference on “Angat Buhay,” her office’s flagship program, in this city.
‘What are the plans?’
“In the coming third Sona we want to hear about the alarming issues in our country like the inflation rate, the rise in unemployment based on the latest survey despite economic growth, and where this campaign against illegal drugs is going,” Robredo said. “We want to know what these mean and what are the plans for them.”
The President has promised to keep his upcoming Sona under 35 minutes, but Malacañang is not discounting the possibility he would deviate from his prepared speech, given his tendency to make lengthy, off-the-cuff remarks.
“Knowing the President … You know that if he’s in the mood, he doesn’t read his prepared speech,” Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel, said in an interview on Radyo Pilipinas. “The President, oftentimes when he speaks extemporaneously, speaks from the heart.”
As the Palace put it, the President’s third Sona—which will be directed by filmmaker Joyce Bernal—is coming “straight from the heart.”
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said among the expected highlights of the President’s address were his plans following the bicameral approval earlier this week of a bill creating the Bangsamoro region.
“I guess what makes it more exciting really is the recently signed bill on the Bangsamoro,” Andanar said. “And we expect that the President will give a hint on his plans in the coming months,” he said.
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