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Duterte sets SONA tone sans finger-pointing to previous admins

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President Rodrigo Duterte eschewed from his predecessors’ playbook in his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday as he did away with the usual finger-pointing and blame games for the problems besetting our country today.

“We cannot move forward if we allow the past to pull us back. Finger pointing is not the way, that is why I will not waste precious time dwelling on the sins of the past, or blaming those who are perceived to be responsible for the mess that we are in and suffering from,” Duterte said.

Duterte, however, said government officials who are guilty of betraying public trust will not go unpunished under his administration. He assured them of their day in court and their day of reckoning, too, depending on the evidence available for the sake of giving equal protection to all.

“I was determined then as I am now determined and better positioned to wage war against those who make a mockery of our laws, including those who make life for us all miserable. I wish to assure everyone though that vindictiveness is not in my system,” Duterte said.

Duterte, the first president to come from Mindanao, proudly noted the elections of his fellow southerners Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon ‘Bebot’ Alvarez as Senate President and House Speaker respectively.

“Allow me a little bit of informality at the outset, you would realize that the three guys in the elevated portion of Congress are from Mindanao, so wala talaga kaming masabi,” the president opened his speech, eliciting the first thunderous applause from the crowd.

Besides the two leaders of the 17th Congress, Duterte mentioned in his greet list among others Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Former President Benigno S. Aquino III, whose SONAs were replete with criticisms of previous administrations particularly that of the Arroyo presidency, did not show up at the Batasang Pambansa despite getting an invitation to the event.