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Three scenarios eyed for Duterte’s last SONA amid pandemic

/ 08:33 AM June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic persist, three possible scenarios are being eyed for President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA).

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In an INQside Look interview, Senate President Vicente Sotto III disclosed that he, House Speaker Allan Velasco and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) agreed on three possible set-ups for Duterte’s SONA in July.

“The PSG will still call the shots,” Sotto said.

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The first scenario will be similar to what was done in the previous year, according to Sotto.

Sotto, Velasco and a number of lawmakers will be at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City with Duterte under the said scenario.

“We will be at the Batasan and the President will arrive and go directly to the podium and deliver his address. That’s scenario number one, pretty much like last year,” the Senate president said.

This scenario will allow 30 individuals from the Senate to physically attend the SONA at the Batasang Pambansa. The number includes “a few” senators as well as members of the Senate secretariat and sergeant-at-arms.

“The usual suspects…the usual members who usually attend,” Sotto said when asked who among the 24 senators will physically attend Duterte’s SONA.

“Like last year, the partymates of the President will definitely be there…[Senate] Majority Leader [Juan Miguel Zubiri] will surely be there,” he added.

The second scenario, meanwhile, involves Sotto and Velasco accompanying Duterte in Malacañang while the latter delivers his address.

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“The Speaker and I will be in Malacañang with the President and everything will be virtual,” Sotto said.

For the last scenario, the President will be in Malacañang while the members of Congress watch his speech live at the Batasang Pambansa.

According to Sotto, the meeting between him, Velasco and the PSG regarding scenarios for the SONA happened two weeks ago.

“Those are the three scenarios that we discussed and that we agreed on all three, we leave it now to the PSG to decide on what the scenario will be,” Sotto said.

Last year, Duterte delivered his 5th SONA at the Batasang Pambansa before a number of lawmakers, who were first tested for COVID-19 before they were allowed to enter the venue.

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TAGS: Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Sona, State of the Nation Address
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