SONA 2021

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

Rambo Talabong

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

IN SESSION. The House of Representatives opens its session on Monday, July 21, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's sixth and final SONA.

Lord Allan Velasco

On SONA 2021, ouster suspicions and endorsements flourish at the Senate and the House of Representatives

From start to finish, the highlight for Congress on the day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte was the 2022 elections.

The day began with both chambers stamping out suspicions of ousters.

At the House of Representatives, the session was started with a show of unity with Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN Representative Mikee Romero – an ally of PDP-Laban’s Lord Allan Velasco and of embattled Senator Manny Pacquiao – taking the podium and presiding over the opening.

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

Previously, Pacquiao was booted as president of PDP-Laban amid rumors that he wanted to run for president in 2022. This raised questions of whether Pacquiao’s allies, like Romero, would still retain their lofty posts in Congress.

The questions were silenced with Romero’s appearance at the pedestal. He holds on to the position – at least for now. 

Romero’s symbolic appearance was affirmed further by the SONA day address of Speaker Velasco, who called on the House to remain united even as the 2022 elections drew nearer.

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

The rumors at the Senate, meanwhile, involved Senate President Vicente Sotto III. Sotto apparently caught wind of a plan to unseat him after he announced he was aiming for the vice presidency in 2022.

Nothing of the sort happened on Monday morning. He explained that the plan fizzled out after the supposed plotters failed to gather a simple majority of 13 senators. That was number of votes needed to overhaul the Senate leadership.

Spotting Sara

The House’s leadership meanwhile did not hide its preference for its 2022 candidate.

In his morning speech, Velasco alluded to his own presidential bet – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

He said the country should feel and enjoy the legacy of a mayor president, which was something Sara could become if ever she runs and wins in 2022.

Velasco also used the metaphor of needing a leader to be like a Davao eagle – a bird of prey that he has likened to the leadership of Sara Duterte.

After opening the session, the House leaders held a video call with the Davao City mayor herself, who thanked the lawmakers for supporting her father.

Also present in the call was Lakas-CMD president and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez, whose party has also thrown its support behind Sara and has reached out for a partnership with her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago. 

The biggest winner

Not only did the alleged ouster against him disappear, Sotto earned a rare prize.

He got a Duterte endorsement during his SONA, which was watched by millions of Filipinos.

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

Within the first hour of his speech, just as he was trailing off, Duterte broke off from his rambling and took time to praise Sotto.

“He is a good man. He can become a good vice president,” Duterte said.

This is the second time that Duterte praised Sotto, with the first being on July 17 at the opening of the Clark International Airport’s new terminal.

Duterte addressed Sotto as “vice president.”

A potential distraction

While lawmakers were already organizing for the 2022 polls, Duterte in his 2021 speech reminded them that he still needed their help until the end.

As Duterte’s SONA was about to end, lawmakers repeatedly clapped at Duterte, who then said that they should save the celebration for later when they have passed laws responsive to the needs of Filipinos.

Elections excitement colors Congress on day of SONA 2021

Duterte mentioned 12 priority bills he wished Congress would pass before he stepped down, including the creation of a department for overseas Filipinos, a department for disaster resilience, a Philippine virology institute, and a center for disease control.

Aside from the priority measures, Congress needs to pass the budget for 2022. The House aims to pass it before October, when the certificates of candidacy need to be submitted to the Commission on Elections. The Senate, meanwhile, will take up until December. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Clothing, Apparel, Person


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.