• SONA rally permits denied, but rally groups go ahead

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    Malacañang on Thursday brushes off allegations that the Palace is behind the denial of the rally permits.

    The Quezon City government has denied a progressive group’s application for a permit to hold a rally near the Batasan complex when President Benigno Aquino 3rd delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

    But militant groups vowed to push through with rallies despite being denied a rally permit by the government.

    Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that they have no participation in that.
    ”We are only guests,” he said. “Let me remind you, the Executive branch is a guest of the Legislative branch. We are going there.

    ”The President is also a guest of the Legislative branch because he is going to address, as part of his constitutional mandate, the state of the nation before the two Houses of Congress. So we are guests,” he added.

    The Palace official said that National Capital Region Police Office as well as the local government are in charge of the situation there.

    ”Again, it’s a local issue,” Lacierda said. “We’ll leave it with the local officials.”

    ”SONA is a yearly thing. Why would we indulge ourselves in matters local? So why will we involve ourselves?” the Palace official added.

    Meanwhile, Lacierda said that President Aquino will submit the proposed budget for next year, the day after the SONA.

    ”Right after SONA, the President will submit the budget to the—both Houses,” he said, noting that there will be a budget message that will explain its allocation.

    ”It will explain in full why we are appropriating this amount for that particular thing. It will be explained totally the rationale for the budget,” Lacierda said. “We discussed it. We had two long discussions, not only on the items, but also on the rationale behind it.”

    ”And since this is also the President’s budget message, it is something that I will be withholding, will be reserving for the submission of the budget message. And you will be able to see there the reason for the budget, why we are—why do we have a budget which is higher than last year’s, the justification for that, and that will be amply explained in the budget message of the President,” Lacierda said.

    ”Whatever the final form is, will be subject to discussions or deliberations in the House and the Senate,” the Palace official added.

    Catherine S. Valente

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