President Rodrigo Duterte may deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Malacañang next month instead of Batasang Pambansa, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
During the Senate session Thursday (June 4), Sotto said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) is already in talks with the Senate secretary and the House secretary general on the SONA.
“There is a suggestion that the President will deliver his SONA in Malacañang. It’s up to the senators and congressmen where they want to listen,” he said.
The PSG has been limiting Duterte’s movements as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
Sotto said that if Duterte were to deliver his SONA at the Palace, there would be no need for senators to go to Batasang Pambansa.
“That is the initial reaction and initial proposal that they have. We have not agreed yet but if we agree and all of you agree, we could stay here. We need not go to Congress or the House of Representatives because the President will not be there,” he said.
The President is required to address Congress at the opening of its regular session, as provided in Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution. The SONA is delivered by the Chief Executive on the fourth Monday of July.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said holding SONA at Batasang Pambansa is impractical as it will put government officials at risk of catching COVID-19.
“Talagang malabo ang State of the Nation Address kung saan libo-libong tao ang nasa loob ng very cramped area of the Philippine Congress. I don’t see that happening,” he said.