Former presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III were invited to attend the first SONA (State of the Nation Address) of President Rodrigo Duterte this Monday, July 25. 2016. But while FVR, Erap and GMA said they will be attending, private citizen Noynoy Aquino said he will not come. Here’s why.
“I will watch it on TV to be able to concentrate on its content,” Aquino reportedly said, who officially ended his term as president last June 30 and is now living in their family home at Times Street in Quezon City. PNoy, as he is earlier called, is said to be responsible to the plunder case of Gloria Arroyo, whom the Supreme Court recently ruled out as innocent.
Arroyo, who is also serving her third and last term as Pampanga 2nd District Representative, thanked President Duterte and the Supreme Court, noting that her case was given the proper due process. This is after the high court via an 11-4 vote decided to acquit the former president of alleged misuse of the P366-million PCSO intelligence funds during her term.
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Yesterday, House of Representatives Deputy Secretary General Artemio Adasa Jr. said that all the four former presidents are set to be seated side by side based on their terms of office. This means that if Noynoy Aquino will attend President Duterte’s first SONA, he will be sitting beside Gloria Arroyo, and therefore it would be very awkward on his part.
Meanwhile, Bayang Barrios to sing the national anthem while classical singer and Asia’ Got Talent second runner-up Gerphil Flores will sing during the cocktail reception. Award-winning director Brilliante Mendoza will direct the said event for free, and total of 3,000 invitations have been sent out. Guests are being advised to wear business attire.
As for the food, Deputy Secretary General to the House of Representatives Artemio Adasa said that it has a budget of P200,000, and that only simple foods such as fried banana will be served. In general, President Duterte first SONA will be totally different from the previous ones, with less and drama, and will focus more on the president’s agenda.