Rodrigo Duterte to skip Marcos’ 2nd Sona, says Go
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte will skip the second State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday, said Senator Bong Go.
House of Representatives Secretary General Reginald Velasco had earlier said Duterte was among the confirmed special guests who will personally listen to Marcos’ Sona at Batasang Pambansa.
Go, who was Duterte’s longtime aide, said the former chief of state would be absent from the event.
“I’m not sure. I think he came from China. He’s kind of tired. He’s in Davao,” Go told reporters minutes before the Senate opened the second regular session of the 19th Congress.
Duterte made news last week by visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, notwithstanding China’s unrelenting aggression against Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea, a disputed waterway within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Even though China didn’t agree with the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, Duterte and the Chinese leader became close during his time as president.
The Court had ruled against Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
Duterte had referred to the landmark decision as a “piece of paper” that could be thrown away.
There was, however, a shift in the Philippine government’s position since the Marcos administration took over.
Marcos asserts the Hague ruling, saying he would not “allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon.”