SONA 2020

Robredo not invited to Batasan for Duterte’s SONA 2020

Sofia Tomacruz

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Vice President Leni Robredo says she will instead attend President Rodrigo Duterte's annual address virtually

Vice President Leni Robredo will not be among those physically present at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 27, when President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA). 

Robredo disclosed this in her Biserbisyong Leni radio show on Sunday, July 26, saying she was not among those invited by Malacañang to physically attend Duterte’s penultimate address. 

“Hindi ako imbitado sa House of Representatives,” Robredo said.  “Iyong na-receive namin na invitation ay Zoom, so iyon iyong pupuntahan ko.”

(I wasn’t invited to the House of Representatives. The invite I received was for [the video messaging platform] Zoom, so that’s what I’ll be going to.) 

Duterte’s SONA on Monday takes on a different form from past years’ SONAs as only a limited number of Cabinet officials, lawmakers, dignitaries, and other guests will be allowed to enter Batasan. 

It will take on a hybrid format given the coronavirus pandemic. 

This year’s SONA is the first one Robredo is not invited to physically attend, as the Vice President had been present in all of Duterte’s previous SONAs despite their rocky working relationship. 

“Ito namang SONA, talagang kinlear natin iyong schedule para dito, so dahil hindi naman ako imbitado physically na pumunta doon, sa Zoom mag-a-attend ako…kasi obligasyon natin ito,” she said.

(I really cleared my schedule for the SONA, so even if I wasn’t invited to physically go there, I’ll attend via Zoom since it’s my obligation.) 

Duterte’s 5th SONA takes place under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected over 80,000 people in the Philippines as of Sunday.

Duterte is expected to tackle the country’s COVID-19 recovery plan, which Robredo said should provide a complete picture to stop the spread of the disease and address the problems of various sectors. 

The President has so far rehearsed his speech twice, and may run through it a 3rd time on Sunday night. –

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.