Aquino's 2012 SONA gets jeers, cheers

by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2012 09:00 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2012 06:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - President Benigno Aquino's 2012 State of the Nation Address (SONA) drew both praise and criticism from various political personalities Monday.

His speech, which took 1 and a half hours, was just a bit too long, according to some opposition lawmakers.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño said President simply delivered feel-good anecdotes and chose statistics that would make the administration look like it is doing a good job.

He said administration's so-called gains failed to produce an impact for a majority of Filipinos.

He gave as an example the increase in Philhealth membership, which rose to 85%.

Casiño, however, said in reality, Philhealth members still have to shell out their own money.

He also cited the increase in the price of commodities and utilities like water and power, which the President failed to mention in his SONA.

'Like a budget briefing'

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, meanwhile, said Aquino's SONA sounded like a budget briefing.

She said the President has to check his numbers because some surveys indicate that more people are saying that they are poorer and are experiencing hunger.

Magsaysay lauded the President's anti-corruption campaign but added that Aquino should also acknowledge that there is still corruption happening in his administration.

She cited the shortfall in the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue collections for this year.

Binay, Erap assess PNoy

Others expressed satisfaction over the President's performance in the past 2 years.

Vice President Jejomar Binay gave Aquino a rating of 8.5 to 9 points for his 2012 SONA.

He said all of Aquino's promises are doable.

Former President Joseph Estrada, meanwhile, gave Aquino a passing grade of 7+ points.

Estrada said the Aquino administration's greatest achievement so far is the removal of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

He added that the government should continue running after other "big fish," including those responsible for the fertilizer fund scam.

Business leaders also lauded the infrastructure and public-private partnership  projects of the Aquino administration.

Senator Tito Sotto, meanwhile, believes it was President Aquino's best SONA so far.

He said the President gave "very ambitious" goals in terms of infrastructure but Sotto believes they are achieveable.

Responsible parenthood

However, he said the president's statement on responsible parenthood is subject to misinterpretation.

Sotto said it does not necessarily mean the president is in support of the reproductive health bill.

Former Akbayan partylist Rep. Risa Hontiveros said she cheered and stood up when the President mentioned responsible parenthood.

Hontiveros said the President deserves a standing ovation from all the women in the plenary.

She is also very optimistic that this would help push Congress into action

No escalation of tension

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, meanwhile,  shrugged off comments that the President took a flimsy stand on Bajo de Masinloc.

Lacierda said the Palace does not want to further escalate the tension between China and the Philippines.

He said Aquino hopes to maintain diplomacy in resolving the territorial dispute. - with a report from Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News