• SONA sidelights


    The President’s children Sara, Paolo and Sebastian Duterte made their second public appearance Monday for their father’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA). They were last seen together at President Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration on June 30 held in Malacañang.

    Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte

    Dressed in “recycled” Filipiniana attires, the siblings from Mr. Duterte’s ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman, flew in from Davao City on Sunday night to throw their full support behind their “papa” as he reports his achievements in his first year in office.

    Sebastian Duterte with girlfriend Kate Necessario

    Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who missed her father’s first SONA in July 2016 due to her difficult pregnancy, looked lovely in a pink butterfly-sleeved gown, was escorted to the House of Representatives by husband lawyer Manases Carpio.

    Duterte’s second son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, was clad in a nature-inspired and tribal-patterned barong, and attended the SONA with wife January, who wore a simple black terno.

    Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and wife January

    Meanwhile, the most popular albeit controversial son of the President, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte set aside his “cool boy” image and cleaned up by tying his long hair in a low bun and donning a finely embroidered barong tagalog. And, despite his much-publicized relationship with movie star Ellen Adarna, Baste attended his father’s big day with the mother of his two-year-old son and supposedly long-time girlfriend, model Kate Necessario.


    * * *

    While already a familiar face to senate reporters, it was not until opening of the second session of the 17th Congress Monday morning that Kathryn Yu was formally introduced to media.

    Choosing to describe herself as the “partner” of Senate President Koko, Yu revealed that she and third highest official of the land have been together for two years now.

    Kathryn Yu, Senate President Koko Pimentel’s ‘partner’ of two years

    “He usually introduces me as… partner (niya),” Yu said in a brief interview with reporters.

    According to TV and radio reports, Yu met Pimentel through his sister, Commission on Human Rights official Gwen Pimentel-Gana. A businesswoman, she now manages Pimentel’s law firm.

    Yu is from Marikina and born from a Chinese father and Filipino mother.

    Pimentel—who was annulled from his 12-year marriage to 1998 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Jewel May Lobaton—still had his mother Bing Pimentel with him to the session opening, and sat with her at the traditional photo op of the senators and their spouses.


    * * *

    While his contemporaries donned their Barong Tagalog during President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo opted for a different look, not just by wearing a tux but also by adorning it with floral patches.

    Groovy or not? Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in his floral patched tuxedo PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO

    The sexagenarian, known for his non-traditional taste in fashion, said that the five flower patches strewn across either side of his suit symbolize the “blooming of Duterte’s presidency.”

    Panelo completed his groovy look with a pair of sunglasses, a black bow tie, and gray suede shoes.


    * * *

    No celebrities were chosen to sing the Philippine National Anthem on Monday’s SONA. Instead, an employee within the House of Representatives took the spotlight at the very beginning of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ensuing almost two-hour report.

    The news that Mona Liza Adam Mangelen had been chosen to sing the National Anthem Mr. Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address was first made public on July 21 by her sister Marawiya Adam Ganaut on Facebook.

    Mona Liza Adam Mangelen is a member of staff at the House of Representatives

    “Friends watch this year(‘s) SONA. My sister will be singing the Philippine National Anthem. Good luck sis … proud sissy here,” Ganaut posted.

    Mangelen is a staff member of the House of Representatives Human Resource Management. She is a native of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat of the Maguindanao tribe, and is very vocal about her sentiments on the ongoing war in Marawi.

    She titled her last post on Facebook on June 9, “Muslims should fight terrorism,” warning her community to discourage “[your]husbands, sons, or little brothers” from being recruited by terrorists.

    She declared, “We cannot let them destroy Islam. We cannot let them destroy our life and the future of our children.”

    Not new to public performances, Mangelen is always ready to lend her talent on occasions that promote her Muslim heritage and cultural diversity. She last performed in Melaka, Malaysia with other young artists and musicians from various countries at a gathering called “Jom To The Future.”

    She sang “Lupang Hinirang” with heart, and certainly did her fellow Muslims proud.



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