SONA 2014: What Aquino did not say
SONA 2014: What Aquino did not say
(UPDATED) The President was silent on the 3 biggest challenges he faced this year, and for the first time did not blame former President Gloria Arroyo for the country's woes

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – In his 5th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 28, President Benigno Aquino III was quiet on the West Philippine Sea dispute with China, chose not to quarrel with the Supreme Court, and did not mention the fact that 3 Philippine senators are now in jail due to the pork barrel controversy.

And this time around, he did not blame former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the country’s woes. (READ: Full text of the President SONA)

The 3 issues that he skipped, however, have been some of the biggest challenges that the President had to face this year. The pork barrel scam scandal, while it broke in 2013, culminated in the sensational arrest of opposition senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

The President also spent the past two weeks slamming the Supreme Court for its decision declaring schemes under Malacañang’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

While Aquino mentioned in his SONA the benefits from DAP and the fact that the government should heed the Court ruling, he did not talk about the Supreme Court or the judiciary at all. Chief Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno watched the address at the Batasan Pambansa.

FOI, ASEAN, power shortage

Due to the pork barrel and DAP controversy, various sectors have once again pushed for the passage of a Freedom of Information law. But he did not mention the FOI.

The President also did not tackle the country’s preparations for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community by 2015 (Check Rappler’s ASEAN page). This marks the start of free trade among the organization’s 10 member-states allowing free flow of goods and services – including basic education services. (READ: PH basic education ‘cramming’ toward ASEAN 2015)

Given what’s happening in the Middle East and conflict areas where OFWs live, Aquino skipped mention of key global developments that continue to affect and displace Filipino workers abroad.

On the looming power shortage, the President did not give any indication that he will invoke emergency powers to deal with the problem – as requested no less than by his energy secretary, Jericho Petilla.

Did we miss anything? What were you expecting to hear from the President but which he failed to mention? –

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