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SONA 2008: What Was The Applause For?

July 29, 2008

Outside of the now predictable sing-song SONAs, the two previous occasions when Filipinos, I think,  really intently intently listened to and focused on the presidential address were when GMA said she would not run for president after she completed the balance of ousted president Estrada’s term, and when she said “I am sorry” at the height of the wiretapped ‘Hello Garci’ conversation.

At that time it became abundantly clear, except to morons, that the president was motivated by more than mere curiosity when she asked elections commissioner Virgilio Garcellano about the progress of the national vote count in the 2004 elections, and her half-whispered, ‘’yung dagdag, yung dagdag.’’

That Mrs. Arroyo has never been able to live down that ignominious episode and blot to her presidency’s legitimacy is rivaled only by her staying power despite naked attempts to unseat her plus the record after record drops of her popularity and trust ratings.

This time around during the 8th and penultimate SONA of her presidency, assuming that the 2010 elections will be held, the “luckiest b…|(as described in levity by Albay governor Joey Salceda)” didn’t say she was sorry. Instead she pictured herself as a “worried and caring president” of a ‘heroic’ society caught in a “global economic tsunami” with Filipinos riding out an “economic roller coaster.”

Sure the speech was punctuated by applause some 104 times, dutifully but unconvincingly rendered by the gallery of congressmen and their pork-barrel endowed supporters and the properly’pimped up’ ladies wearing designer gowns unmindful of the mass poverty that stalks the land.

To her credit,the result of Mrs. Arroyo 4 weeks of speech-delivery rehearsals, as confessed to by the head of the presidential management staff, was evident in her near-perfect delivery despite the almost dour face that she had as she ascended the podium.

The presidential make-up artist was,however, unable to apply enough face powder and flesh-tone cream to mask the eye bags of the 61-year-old chief executive.

Still and all, Mrs. Arroyo delivered her SONA with energy through to her concluding warning to those whose “political ambitions would threaten the nation’s survival.”

From where this writer sits, the most telling aspect s of the SONA were

1) the blame placed on the global economic downturn brought on by the food and oil price crises;

2) the stubborn refusal for government to remove or cut the value added tax on oil products, with the windfall now being used for helter-skelter dole-outs absent any law and;

3) the move to amend the Social Security System charter so that the monies contributed by some 24 million private sector employees can be used by Romulo Neri to dispense housing loans beyond the 10% statutory limit.

With the elections just 20 months away will it now be the turn of the SSS funds to be raided to dispense political patronage, short of rigging the balloting?

So was this what the people in the Batasan plenary hall were applauding?

‘Super’ secretary Romulo Neri, prove us wrong please?

One Comment leave one →
  1. lerika permalink
    August 3, 2008 2:04 pm

    hello. can u comment on GMA’s 8 point of agenda in connection to our economy na may connek sa economics?

    thanks… asap..+) more power

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