By Ben Rosario
Congressmen were baffled last night when President Rodrigo Duterte’s 94-minute State of the Nation Address did not mention even a word about Charter change and federalism, which were part of his priority reform agenda.
His proposal for the re-passage of the death penalty bill, this time, to cover plunder, failed to convince a number of solons, particularly the Makabayan bloc.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires was likewise not supportive of proposals to impose the death penalty on plunder, saying that the crime is difficult to prove.
“The anti-corruption campaign is no longer the concern of the government alone. By enjoining the public to rebel against corrupt officials and graft-ridden agencies, President Duterte underscored the importance of our people’s cooperation in cleansing the bureaucracy,” stated 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero.
He added: “ Congress should do its part by giving concerned Filipinos ample protection against all possible backlash of their effort to contribute to the anti-corruption drive. Passage of legislative measures that would fast-track pending resolution of pending graft cases without sacrificing fairness and due process
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the SONA extensively covered many significant issues that will help address the country’s ills, but noted that Charter change was not included in the speech.
Many lawmakers were elated their legislative advocacies made it to Duterte’s list of priority measures.
“I am happy that he made mention of my bills to be prioritized. And happier because he gave importance to the implementation of the ease of doing business law which I authored,” said Bagong Henerasyon partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy.
Herrera-Dy authored bills seeking the creation of the Department of Water Resources and Department of Disaster Resiliency.
The creation of the anti-disaster agency is also part of Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas’ list of bills.
Neophyte Cebu Rep. Duke Frasco said Duterte’s speech was awe-inspiring.
“I am motivated to perform well for the fifth District of Cebu and for the Filipino people,” he said.
IN a statement, the Kabataan Partylist chided Duterte for doing “nothing but spew his lies, false promises and threats to the people.”
On the other hand, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate noted that the fourth SONA “is a state of admission of the wanton failure” of Duerte’s major campaigns which are the anti-drug lord and the anti-corruption campaign.
“Also how can there be national development when his peace initiative via the task force he created is geared more towards the surrender and capitulation of revolutionaries rather than solving the root causes of the armed conflict,” Zarate said.