Why Noynoy Aquino always skips Duterte's SONAs
After two years and a string of complaints against him, former president Benigno Aquino III decided to again skip the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of his successor, President Rodrigo Duterte.
It's a complicated relationship between the two, with Aquino facing several complaints filed by Duterte's allies over the P3.5-billion procurement of Dengvaxia vaccines. Duterte has also repeatedly slammed Aquino's Liberal Party and his allies.
If the Aquino is to be believed, these are not the reasons why he has deliberately missed Duterte's SONA. According to him, it's for practicality.
"Ang hinahabol ko ay maintindihan ang sinasabi niya. 'Pag sa TV, madaling maka-concentrate... Ang importante maintindihan mo lahat. Gusto ko talagang mapakinggan," Aquino told Rappler in a phone interview on Monday, July 16.
(I'm really after understanding what he is saying. I can concentrate if I watch it on TV... It's important that you understand everything. I really want to listen to it thoroughly.)
The former president, a known stickler for details, took down notes as Duterte delivered his SONA the past two years.
"'Pag sa bahay ka nanood, kaya mo mag-notes. 'Pag nandoon ka [sa Batasan], habang nagsasalita may nanggugulo, may bubulong. Madaming distractions. Minsan 'pag tapos ng SONA, sasabihin sa 'yo: 'Di mo ba narining yun?' Watching it on TV is the most efficient way," Aquino said.
(If you watch it at home, you can take down notes. If you're there in Batasan, there would be other people talking while he's delivering the speech. There will be those who will whisper, there will be many distractions. After the SONA, they will ask you: Didn't you hear that?)
Back in June, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales indicted Aquino for usurpation of legislative powers in the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program case. The National Bureau of Investigation also recently recommended technical malversation charges against him over the dengue vaccination program.
Aquino had admitted the thought of being imprisoned under the administration crossed his mind.
Meanwhile, former president and Pampanga 2nd district Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been consistently present in Duterte's SONAs. It was under Duterte's term when Arroyo was freed and completely cleared of charges, which were filed during the Aquino administration.
Former presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, now Manila mayor, also confirmed their attendance. – Rappler.com
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