Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Designated survivor? Sara Duterte to skip Marcos’ 3rd SONA

Bonz Magsambol

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Designated survivor? Sara Duterte to skip Marcos’ 3rd SONA

VICE PRESIDENT. Vice President Sara Duterte.

Facebook Page of Inday Sara Duterte

(2nd UPDATE) Vice President Sara Duterte will not attend the SONA for the first time under the Marcos presidency

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte said on Thursday, July 11, that she will not attend President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Designated survivor? Sara Duterte to skip Marcos’ 3rd SONA

It will be the first time for Duterte to skip the President’s SONA since she assumed the vice presidency in 2022. The difference this year is that she is no longer part of the Marcos Cabinet following her resignation as education secretary in June.

Asked by reporters in a chance interview in Davao City if she would attend the SONA on July 22, Duterte took a deep breath, smiled, and paused for a few seconds. Asked again, she responded: “No. I will not attend the SONA.”

“I am appointing myself as the designated survivor,” she deadpanned.

The Vice President made the quip amid persistent rumors of an ouster plot against the President. Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV had claimed that the Vice President’s father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, was behind the alleged plot.

There is no rule in relation to a designated survivor in the Philippine government but in the United States, the role is assigned to someone in the Cabinet who would be brought to a secure location while the US president delivers his State of the Union Address held before the US House of Representatives, in a joint session of Congress and members of the Cabinet, with the US vice president in attendance. This is to ensure the unbroken line of succession should there be a catastrophic event during the SOTU.

What about unity?

Speaker Martin Romualdez said that while public officials have “the prerogative to decide on their attendance at significant events,” the SONA “is a crucial moment for unity and collaboration among our nation’s leaders.”

“Our constituents deserve to see their leaders united and focused on the collective good. Despite the Vice President’s absence, the House of Representatives remains committed to working with all branches of government to ensure that President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr.’s SONA reflects our collective efforts to improve the lives of Filipinos. Unity and collaboration will continue to guide us forward,” he added.

Manila 3rd District Representative Joel Chua slammed Duterte’s statement, saying that the security of the President is “not a joking or laughing matter.”

“Given current political tensions, such a joke is not in good taste because the security of the President of the Philippines is not a joking or laughing matter. Great care is taken to ensure the security of the President, especially during the SONA,” he said in a statement.

Duterte resigned from the Marcos Cabinet on June 19. She said earlier that she resigned as DepEd chief “out of concern” for teachers and the youth. Her exit from the Marcos Cabinet confirmed the insurmountable rift inside the Uniteam coalition forged in the 2022 elections for the Marcos-Duterte tandem.

Designated survivor? Sara Duterte to skip Marcos’ 3rd SONA

Marcos earlier said that on his part, he believed that the Uniteam tandem remained “the same.” This was on June 27, a week after Duterte resigned.

Preparations are underway for Marcos’ 3rd SONA at the Batasang Pambansa on July 22. House Secretary General Reginald Velasco said the government has earmarked P20 million to spend on the annual program. (READ: Is P20 million for the SONA to much?) – with reports from Kaycee Valmonte/Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.