‘Plan A’: Only 50 persons to attend Duterte’s SONA in Batasan — Zubiri
MANILA, Philippines — Only 50 people would be allowed inside the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City should President Rodrigo Duterte decide to deliver his fifth State of Nation Address (SONA) there, a lawmaker said Thursday.
According to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the first option for the President’s SONA is to have the chief executive physically deliver his speech before a joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, which serves as the headquarters of the House of Representatives.
“So far, ang balita sa amin ni Senate President (Vicente Sotto III) is posibleng i-address ng Pangulo ang joint session of Congress sa Kongreso (Batasang Pambansa). So far that is plan A and ang gusto lang po ng PSG (Presidential Security Group), 50 tao sa Kongreso, that’s maximum,” Zubiri told reporters in an online interview.
(So far, Senate President Sotto told us that it is possible for the President to address a joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa. So far that is plan A and the PSG limited the maximum number of people inside to 50.)
Only eight slots will be available for senators, he added.
“Senate President Sotto had requested only eight members to attend plus, I believe, five members from the Senate secretariat,” he said.
“On the part of the congressmen, 12 lang yata ang binigay (I think there are only 12 slots),” the senator further noted.
Besides him and Sotto, Zubiri said Senators Panfilo Lacson, Francis Tolentino, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Pia Cayetano and Sherwin Gatchalian will also physically attend the President’s SONA.
“It will be a skeletal crew of congressmen and senators listening to the President. No other person will be invited. Magla-lockdown po ang Kongreso to protect the members of Congress and, of course, the President from any infection of COVID-19. That’s Plan A,” the Senate leader said.
Another option, he added, is that members of Congress will watch the President deliver his SONA from Malacañang via live stream at the Batasang Pambansa.
Congress is currently on break and will resume for its second regular session on July 27 for the President’s SONA.
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