- Published on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 00:00
- Written by PETER TABINGO
By A Web design Company
PRESIDENT Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) took all of 91 minutes, his longest. The official time was placed at 89 minutes.
Detained former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, at her loquacious best during her first SONA in 2001, took only 66 minutes.
Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office said Aquino’s third SONA is not the longest in history since it only had 8,890 words, unlike that of Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 which had 30,427 words.
Veterans of previous SONA coverage said Aquino’s speech lacked verve and bombast and actually sagged in several segments but he still garnered no less than 120 rounds of applause.
Even as cameras in the Session Hall panned to catch a few elderly legislators and guests discreetly nodding off in the middle part, Aquino successfully elicited ovations and laughter with a number of choice quips.
Praising Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao OIC governor Mujiv Hataman for purging ARMM’s payroll and voters list of “ghosts,” Aquino milked the audience for laughter and applause by christening Hataman as a “certified ghostbuster.”
He also had several female lawmakers on their feet, particularly those who have been vocal supporters of the reproductive health bill, when he mentioned an appeal to slow down the number of children born every year and addressing the problem through “responsible parenthood.”
Aquino also had members of his official family blushing by highlighting their efforts to improve their respective agency’s performances although Energy Secretary Jose Almendras had a standout moment when the President described him as an “Energizer bunny” for his aggressive campaign to bring light and electricity to the country’s most isolated areas.
Male guests, Cabinet officials and members of Congress predominantly opted to wear Barong Tagalog for the SONA but their female counterparts provided dashes of color both in the gallery and on the session floor.
Reps. Jaye Lacson-Noel (Navotas City) and Milagros Magsaysay (Zambales) wore Filipiniana gowns in lavender – the official rallying color of the RH bill.
Movie actress Shiela Israel, wife of Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez, went up the gallery in a red gown while Reps. Henedina Abad and Marlyn Primicias-Agabas brightened the floor with their yellow ensembles.
Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, wife of Sen. Bong Revilla, came in a sedate gown in green while former First Lady now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos had cameras flashing when she arrived in long aqua terno with her trademark butterfly sleeves.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Benjo Benaldo escorted Brazilian model Diana Menezes who showed up in a white number with yellow flowery highlights.
Benguet Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who attracted cameras and not a few curious glances when he wore his native loincloth in Aquino’s earlier SONA, opted for relative obscurity this time around by coming in a traditional Barong Tagalog.
He had only one problem: The speech was too long.
Former president Joseph Estrada was all praises for President Aquino’s third report to the Filipino people except that he found the speech too long for his liking.
A large photo gallery celebrating the victory of the House prosecution panel in securing the conviction of ex-chief justice Renato Corona was set up at the south wing lobby of the Batasan building in time for the SONA.
The “photo mural” in black and white which stretched from the floor to the ceiling was placed on wall of the lobby and could not be missed by passers-by, including President Aquino himself who glanced at the wall.
The mural was the initiative of Quezon City Rep. Bolet Banal, the congressman who hogged the limelight during the Senate impeachment trial for investigating if Corona had dollar accounts with Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) Katipunan branch in Quezon City. – With Wendell Vigilia