President Benigno Aquino 3rd, in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, sought validation of what he called achievements of his five-year rule from presumably ordinary Filipinos who heaped praises through video footage on his road and other populist infrastructure projects.
He began his speech around 4 p.m. but already more than one and half hours into it, coughing three times and being applauded 71 times, what critics had considered substantial for the address to reflect the state of the nation, the President touched only on one of them—the anti-dynasty law—at exactly 5:40 p.m.
It seemed like a dig at Vice President Jejomar Binay, the members of whose family are in the city government of Makati and in the Senate and the House of Representatives Meanwhile, the freedom of information bill, the Basic Bangsamoro Law, the Metro Rail Transit 3 irregularities and other more significant issues did not figure at all in the long SONA.
Early in his speech, he singled out Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Joel Villanueva, chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or Tesda, among other members of his Cabinet, for their contributions to his administration.
Two of them—de Lima and Villanueva—are believed to be running for the Senate in the 2016 elections, and Aquino apparently introducing them this early to the electorate smacked of electioneering.
The President spent almost 30 minutes in thanking people in his administration for their supposed roles in the success of his government—from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to Manuel Roxas 2nd, to Florencio Abad to Manolo Quezon–to expectedly wild applause, of course.
He did not forget to thank his yaya, though.