Robredo invited to be physically present in Duterte’s last Sona
MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Leni Robredo has been invited to physically attend President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (Son) at the Batasang Pambansa on July 26.
House of Representatives Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza told reporters on Monday (July 19) that his office was still waiting for word if Robredo would accept the invitation.
In 2020, Robredo, was not invited by Malacanang to be physically present in the House for Duterte’s fifth Sona. She was said to have watched the proceedings online. It was the first time that Robredo, whose working relationship with Duterte was often marked with hostility, failed to be physically present during the Sona.
Duterte’s 2020 Sona was the first by a Philippine president after the Marcos dictatorship to be held both online and physically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 50 guests, mostly Duterte family members and allies, were invited to be physically present in the House.
This year’s Sona will take on a similar format still because of the pandemic. But this time, at least 350 guests—a mix of lawmakers, Cabinet members, dignitaries and other guests—would be allowed to be physically present.
“We can increase the audience now because they’re already fully vaccinated,” said Mendoza in Filipino. “At the same time, IATF relaxed the rules, 30 percent of capacity for the plenary can be used,” he said.
Mendoza said among those who accepted the invitation to be physically present at Duterte’s last Sona was former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Invitations had also been sent to ousted Speakers Pantaleon Alvarez and Alan Peter Cayetano.