YOU haven’t seen (or heard) anything yet.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver the most explosive State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the country will ever hear, administration sources said.
In his first SONA, scheduled on July 25, the President is expected to drop a number of bombshells, including the identities of all local government officials, members of the media and other personalities believed to be involved in illegal drugs.
“We expect it to be a no-holds barred type of speech. Already, he is gathering up all the information he [needs]. You want to know the real state of the nation? We will hear it from him that day,” a highly placed administration source, who spoke on condition that he not be named, said.
“We saw it during the anniversary of the [Philippine] Air Force. We were all caught off-guard,” the source added.
He was referring to the Air Force anniversary rites on July 4, when Duterte accused five police officials of protecting illegal drug traffickers.
In his speech during the event at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, the President named two former and three active officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as the top five coddlers of illegal drug rings: retired deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr., retired chief superintendent Vicente Loot, Director Joel Pagdilao, Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz and Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio.
All five have vehemently denied the President’s accusation.
Subsequently, the PNP chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, claimed that other police officers with the rank of senior superintendent down to Police Officer 1 were on a list held by the President.
De la Rosa also claimed a number of media personalities were involved in illegal drugs as users, pushers or protectors of drug traders.
Duterte has set a six-month deadline to crack down on illegal drugs, criminality and graft and corruption, a key campaign pledge that helped sweep him to power.
The President may already be “itching” to release the names of the individuals to publicly humiliate them, but doing so will be “anti-climactic,” The Manila Times source said.
“Where else and when would be the best time for him to do this? The SONA is just a few days away,” the source added.
But Duterte may still opt to release the names of the drug personalities in his “drug matrix” anytime he wishes, before or after the SONA, the source said.
The Manila Times called Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to verify the information but the official said he still had no idea on the contents of the President’s speech.
Former military chief Dionisio Santiago, a former head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency who ran for senator under Duterte’s ticket, said he does not know when Duterte would make public the names of personalities linked to drugs.
“To be honest, I have no idea,” he said in a text message.
The annual SONA is held every fourth Monday of July, coinciding with the regular opening of Congress. There, the President also submits the general appropriations bill to the legislature for scrutiny.
Besides the state of “narco-politics” in the country, Duterte is also anticipated to disclose his administration’s plans for the country’s future.
Cabinet officials have been asked to submit their plans of action based on the Duterte administration’s agenda.