President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, deviating to his trademark impromptu to launch yet another attack against his perceived enemies.
In a nationally broadcast speech before Congress, President Duterte nitpicked once more on the political opposition, blasting at Senator Franklin Drilon apparently for the latter’s comments on his avowed dislike of oligarchy, before pummeling anew at the Lopez family and its denied ABS-CBN franchise.
“I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 election,” Duterte remarked.
Duterte set the tone early in his speech, criticizing Drilon and the Lopez conglomerate. He went back to his prepared talk to discuss goverment accomplishments before deviating again into a discussion of the war on drugs and his vow to end corruption.
“You are a hypocrite. You know that you cannot pass an anti-dynasty law. Ikaw ang nandiyan sa Congress, ikaw ang mauna dito. But to take it against me for protecting my country is something which I really resent,” he said.
The president was apparently referring to a criticism made by Drilon on Duterte’s earlier pronouncement against the Lopezes as an oligarchy when he remarked that the president should go against “political oligarchies”.
Response to pandemic
Duterte did not discuss any comprehensive government response to the country’s effort to combat COVID-19, as was publicly hoped for by a number of senior government officials on both sides of the political divide.
He, however, reported that he called on Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping “four days ago” to “plead” for the country to be among the first to purchase a COVID-19 vaccine from Beijing once it becomes available.
Duterte also remarked that the government is targetting to have 1.5 million Filipinos tested of the virus by the end of July. He, however, did not explain the target in detail.
Oligarchy vs. political dynasty
Duterte opened his fifth SONA on July 27 at Batasang Pambansa, beginning promptly at 4:00 PM. The speech, which was supposed to be only one hour and 20 minutes long according to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, extended for 25 minutes more after the president took the liberty to inject his own anecdotes into his speech.
Duterte goes after telecoms
Duterte proceeded to scold telecommunications companies, Smart Communications, Inc. and Globe Telecom, for their alleged “poor service” and stretching Filipinos’ patience. He threatened to “expropriate” these companies if they fail to improve their services by end of the year.
“The patience of the Filipino people is reaching its limit and I will be the one to articulate the anger of the Filipino people… improve the services before December,” he said.
“I might just as well close all of you and revert back to the line, telephone, i-expropriate ko ‘yan,” he said
‘Yung Smart, pati ‘yong Globe, ilang taon na ito? At ang sagot palagi sa akin, ‘The party cannot be reached’… Eh, kung gano’n lang naman, ibigay ninyo sa amin,” he added.
President Duterte in his SONA also did not make a reference to the initiative of the Philippine mayor’s league and Congress to initiate a charter change move in the lower chamber.