MANILA - Opposition Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito spoke in session Monday to criticize the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 28.
Ejercito said realities on the ground belie most of the President's claims during his SONA.
The lawmaker cited high prices of commodities, including rice, fuel and electricity and the lack of job opportunities for the people.
"Ito ang makatotohanang katayuan ng ating mga kababayan. Marami ang walang oportunidad, walang maliwanag na kabuhayan, walang ginhawa at walang malinaw na kinabukasan," he said.
Ejercito also noted the Philippines continues to lag behind its ASEAN neighbors in terms of the quality of infrastructure. He said poor infrastructure, particularly in the transport industry, has resulted in a slower economy.
He said the Philippines has also received the lowest foreign direct investments compared to its neighbors.
The lawmaker said the economic growth mentioned by Aquino in his SONA has not trickled down to the ordinary citizen.
"Para sa ating mga karinawang mamamayan, ito ay istatistika lamang na bukambibig ng ating pamahalaan at laman ng pahayagan. Ibig sabihin, hindi po ito inclusive," he said.
Ejercito also slammed members of the Cabinet, saying the figures they submit to the President may not be accurate.
"Hindi kaya ang mga ulat na nakarating kay Pangulong Aquino ay salat sa katotohanan. Kulang o minagic para gumanda. Hindi kaya ipinaabot na lang ng ating mga kalihim ang katotohanan kapag malala na ang problema?" he said.
Despite the numerous questions Ejercito raised on the President's SONA, the lawmaker still called on the President to break political barriers and work with all camps for a better country.
"Pangulong Aquino, hangad namin na magtagumpay kayo sa nalalabing dalawang taong nalalabi sa inyong termino. Ngunit dapat muna ninyong tanggapin ang mga suliranin at ang mga pagkukulang bago ito masolusyonan," he said.
"Sa pagresolba sa suliranin ng ating lipunan mga kababayan mga kasamang lingkod bayan kinakailangan nating ang ating katapatan ay walang bahid ng kulay pulitika," he added.