Sona 2014: Who will be the no-shows?
MANILA, Philippines–Who will miss President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address this year?
Four senators, one is sick while three others are in jail, and an annoyed member of the House Representatives.
Santiago skipped the annual national address in 2013 due to her chronic fatigue syndrome. Now she will be a no-show, but this time due to another ailment.
Last July 2, the feisty senator announced that she has been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She said she would be away for six weeks in the Senate and would be back fully cured after taking “magical tablets.”
The 69-year-old senator said she need not undergo chemotherapy because of her rare condition called “genetic mutancy,” making her cells impermeable to cancer.
“I don’t know what the reactions of my enemies are. Maybe they will be happy because on one hand I might die and then they could get rid of me. But on the other hand I might survive and then I will get rid of them,” said the senator who is known for her acerbic wit.
Juan Ponce Enrile
While Enrile’s mortal enemy suffers cancer, the nonagenarian senator might spend his remaining years as a lawmaker in jail.
The Sandiganbayan third division recently ordered his 90-day suspension as a senator. He is being detained at the Philippine National Police General Hospital while facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the P10 billion “pork” barrel scam.
Enrile, who heads the Senate minority bloc, was among the senators jailed under the Aquino administration over the Priority Development Assistance Fund controversy.
He even urged Senator JV Ejercito, during the neophyte senator’s visit to Enrile, to push through with the minority’s anti-Sona speech after Aquino delivers his.
Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada
Believing that the plunder cases were hastily filed against him and two of his colleagues in time for Sona, Estrada could have had boycott Aquino’s Sona even if he’s not in jail.
But now that the senator is behind bars, Estrada will really not be able to personally hear Aquino report his accomplishments for the entire year at the joint session of Congress.
Estrada, who is also serving his suspension for 90 days as senator, is sharing the same detention bungalow with fellow senator and pal, Bong Revilla Jr.
Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Accusing the President of singling him out for political reasons, Revilla openly slammed Aquino for jailing him, Enrile and Estrada.
Revilla was the first among the three senators to be jailed for allegedly pocketing public funds through commissions from fake nongovernment organizations formed by alleged “pork” scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
And his message for Aquino before he was served the arrest warrant: ”President Aquino, the future of this country in the next two years depends on you. I hope that you use your power to solve the problems of our countrymen.”
In what appeared to be a swipe at the movie and television actor, Aquino, in a speech, urged the public to elect genuine leaders, not those who are only good at reading scripts, singing and dancing.
Expecting that she would hear Aquino persecute in his speech once again her detained husband, the Cavite representative and former actress vowed to boycott the President’s Sona.
When Revilla was put behind bars over the “pork” barrel scam, his wife was very vocal in saying that she had no intention of attending the President’s national address this year, saying Revilla was a victim of Aquino’s selective justice.
But the Palace denied President Aquino would do a shame campaign against Revilla in his fifth Sona. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda however noted, “It’s the right of every person, of every representative or senator to opt to attend (Sona) or not.”
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