Duterte's Sona delayed due to bad weather

AFTER a delay of nearly an hour, President Rodrigo Duterte arrived at the House of Representatives (Batasan) complex in Quezon City via a helicopter at 4:55 p.m. Monday, July 22.

The President was scheduled to arrive between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m., based on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) scenario released by the House.

However, bad weather prevented his presidential helicopter from making the trip from Bahay ng Pagbabago, the President's official residence, to the Batasan complex.

When he arrived at Batasan Complex for this year's Sona, Duterte was escorted by Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Senate sergeant-at-arms Rene Samonte, and House sergeant-at-arms Rolando Detabali.

At the end of the military honor guards' formation, Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano welcomed the President.

Sotto and Cayetano called the Joint Session of Congress to order at 5:14 p.m.

Duterte, who usually delivers lengthy and impromptu speeches, mostly read his prepared speech which was estimated to last for 45 minutes to one hour.

Two of the President's three children from his first wife Elizabeth Zimmerman -- Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte -- skipped the event.

Davao City First District Representative Paolo Duterte, the President's eldest son who was elected one of the Deputy House Speakers Monday morning, attended Duterte's Sona.

Duterte's common-law wife, Honeylet AvanceƱa, and daughter, Veronica Duterte, were likewise spotted at the House plenary hall.

Vice President Leni Robredo was also seen at the House of Representatives's session hall.

Robredo's attendance to Duterte's Sona came amid the President's claim that the Vice President's political party, opposition Liberal Party, is hatching a plot to topple his administration.

For the fourth straight year, Duterte's predecessors -- former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada Ejercito, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo -- graced his annual address to the nation.

Only erstwhile President Benigno Aquino III who skipped the event for the fourth time. (SunStar Philippines)


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