Aquino to highlight anti-corruption, economy in Sona-A A +A
Friday, July 20, 2012
MALACANANG said President Benigno Aquino III might tackle the anti-corruption program of his administration as well as the social alleviation program of the government when he delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
"The President will necessarily involve both the anti-corruption program because that's part of our advocacy, 'kung walang corrupt wlang mahirap (If there's no corruption, there's no poverty),' and also our economic roadmap," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing Friday.
The Palace spokesman said the fight against graft and corruption will continue, as the Aquino administration remains determined in pursuing the battle at all levels of the bureaucracy.
Although the administration has successfully brought the case of the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the court, Lacierda said there were a lot of things to be done to eliminate graft and corruption.
"Certainly, Mrs. Arroyo is considered a big fish but, corruption does not end there. The President said much more would have to be done to combat corruption. And corruption exists in all levels of the bureaucracy," Lacierda said.
The former leader, along with former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and the ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona, are considered the "big fishes" from the previous administration who are being held accountable by the Aquino government.
Corona has been ordered removed from his post by the Senate impeachment court on May 29 for not disclosing all his cash assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
Gutierrez, on the other hand, resigned from her post after she was impeached by the House of Representatives.
Both Corona and Gutierrez were appointees of Arroyo.
Arroyo, who is on hospital detention for a separate election sabotage case, was charged with plunder, including nine others for alleged misuse of P365 million in the confidential/intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The plunder case has been raffled off to the Sandiganbayan 1st Division.
"We need to continuously address issues of corruption in all levels and hence, that's the reason why we had involved the citizenry," Lacierda said, as he cited the anti-corruption measures being carried out by the Department of Finance.
Lacierda, meanwhile, did not confirm if the ouster of Corona and other issues, including the country's territorial row with China will take center stage in the President's Sona.
"Let us see the final product of the Sona. That's why we are inviting you to watch. Better for you to wait for the President to deliver it rather than give you tips," he said.
He said the President is finalizing his speech with his speechwriters and is almost fully prepared for the Sona.
"We have much more time to prepare for the State of the Nations Address this year. And the drafts this year are a lot lesser than the drafts last year," he said.
He could not say how long the speech will be, saying it is still a work in progress.
Like in the past, Aquino will deliver his speech in Filipino. Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III will be designated as translator to aid diplomats who will be attending the event, said Lacierda.
He likewise said that the President will be using visuals but will again refrain from using props like Bangkang Papel (Paper boat) boys who became prominent in the Sona of former President Arroyo.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, on the other hand, said Aquino was able to fulfill most of the promises he made during his Sona last year.
"Yes, it seems from our end that most of what the President mentioned last year has come into fruition," she said.
"We have tracked pieces of legislation he mentioned and most of them and the ones we have not been passed yet into law are now in advanced stages legislation," she added.
She said there are around 10 to 11 bills that have already passed the Lower House, including the Kasambahay bill and Whistleblowers' Act.
She also said the lifeline bill, which is a bill extending the lifeline rate for electricity consumers for 20 years, was already passed into law. (Jill Beltran/PNA/Sunnex)