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Palace hints: Duterte may deliver extemporaneous SONA


By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte may deliver an extemporaneous speech during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after it was revealed that the different clusters of Duterte’s Cabinet will be holding their own pre-SONA briefings to report on the administration’s achievement in the past year.

“One difference is magkakaroonpong pre-SONA briefings ‘yungmga (there will be pre-SONA briefings by the different) clusters that would be held in PICC (Philippine International Convention Center). That’s to give President latitude to say whatever he wants during the SONA. Because he has already laid out his achievements in the different clusters,” he said Thursday.

“So the different achievements will be reported by the different clusters in the different Pre-SONA briefings that will be conducted,” he added.

Message from the heart

Roque, however, did not confirm if Duterte will really deliver an extemporaneous speech but confirmed that there will still be a prepared speech for the President.

“Well, I think there is still a speech writer, but I think they want it to be a message straight from the heart of the President, not hindered by the need to report on the different achievements,” he said.

The Palace official also said that he has not yet met with the speech writer.

“Well, I don’t know what is meant by that. I know who’s writing the speeches, the speech, but I haven’t actually sat down with them,” Roque said.

“So sabiko (I said), ‘I need to sit down with you people and find out what exactly you’d put in the speech.’ Because obviously, a major change is that there’s now a pre-SONA briefing by the different clusters,” he added.

“So, intrigued na intrigued natayonglahat kung anoangsasabihinngPangulo (we are all intrigued by what the President will say during his SONA),” he continued.

Duterte’s speeches

Duterte is known to stray away from his prepared speeches, only reading a portion to acknowledge the work of the writer, as he often jests. According to him, the prepared speech does not really reflect the things he wants to say to the people.

He is also known to deliver lengthy speeches in mixed English, Tagalog, and Bisaya. The President also curses and jokes in his speeches.

In his first SONA, Duterte stuck with his prepared speech. However, in his second SONA last year, Duterte deviated from his prepared speech every now and then, and it took the President two hours to deliver his second SONA.

Since assuming the presidency, Duterte’s shortest extemporaneous speech was 2 minutes and 38 seconds at Hilongos District Hospital in Leyte on December 30, 2016. Duterte also delivered a four-minute prepared speech during the opening of the Rizal Park Hotel in July 26, 2017. One of his longest speeches was during the 35th anniversary celebration of PDP-Laban in Pasay City in March 13, 2017 where he delivered a 1-hour-and-41-minute speech.

New director

Meanwhile Presidential Communications Operations (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar confirmed that film and television director Joyce Bernal will be directing Duterte’s third SONA.

Bernal will be replacing internationally-acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza who directed Duterte’s two previous SONAs.

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