Joyce Bernal wants ‘hopeful’ SONA 2019 after last year’s House coup

Mara Cepeda
Joyce Bernal wants ‘hopeful’ SONA 2019 after last year’s House coup
'Actually gusto ko po. I want to do something for him,' says Joyce Bernal on pro bono directing President Rodrigo Duterte's SONA for the second time

MANILA, Philippines – Director Joyce Bernal wants to capture a “hopeful” State of the Nation Address (SONA) for President Rodrigo Duterte, following last year’s power takeover in the House of Representatives that shocked even the acclaimed director. 

Bernal did her walkthrough at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 8, roughly two weeks ahead of Duterte’s 4th SONA on July 22.  

“I want it hopeful and good. ‘Yong parang masaya na, kasi last year, anong nangyari? So sana parang i-set mo ‘yong mood ng lahat ng tao dito na, ‘Uy, ‘wag na kayong mag-away. Mga bashers!’” said Bernal when asked how she plans to make SONA 2019 different from last year’s.

(I want it hopeful and good. I want it to happy because last year, what happened? So I want to set the mood to tell the people, ‘Don’t fight anymore! Stop being bashers!)

The Duterte government had tapped Bernal as director for the first time in July 2018, when the President’s 3rd SONA was delayed for over an hour after House members moved to unseat Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker. (WATCH: SONA 2018: Duterte cleans up but House spoils it)

The legislators succeeded in their coup and installed former Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the leader of the House. 

The power play was watched by the whole nation on live television, with government officials and foreign diplomats personally witnessing the Arroyo takeover – an event from which Bernal said she had “big learnings.” 

“Sana matuto rin tayong lahat mga Pilipino. Big learnings from last year, that’s why andito ako. At napaka-hopeful dahil na-shock ako sa nakita ko last year,” said Bernal.

(I hope all of us Filipinos will learn. I had big learnings from last year, that’s why I’m here. And I’m hopeful because I was shocked by what I saw last year.) 

Bernal, who had directed blockbuster movies like Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger SquadBakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo?, and the Kimmy Dora series, said she personally wanted to direct Duterte’s SONA again. 

“Actually gusto ko po (Actually I want to do this). I want to do something for him,” said Bernal, adding she is willing to do it pro bono like in 2018. (READ: [OPINION] The ‘cinemafication’ of Duterte’s State of the Nation Address)

“Parang dapat lahat tayo pro bono for this, for the Philippines. Lahat pro bono. Napakaliit ng gagawin ko na tulong sa Presidente. Siya ata ‘yong pinakapagod sa ating lahat dito. Konting-konti lang ‘tong tulong na ‘to,” said Bernal. 

(I think all of us should be pro bono for this, for the Philippines. All of it should be pro bono. I am just doing a small help for the President. He’s the one who is perhaps the most exhausted of all of us. This is just a very small contribution to him.) –

For highlights of President Duterte’s 4th SONA, check out our live blog.

For related stories, visit Rappler’s 2019 State of the Nation Address page. 

Rappler takes a deeper look at the first half of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency – its highs and lows, its achievements and shortcomings:
Duterte Year 3: The Halfway Mark 


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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.