MANILA - Three opposition senators, two of whom are detained on plunder charges, had good things to say about President Benigno Aquino III's recent State of the Nation Address, his fifth since 2010.
In a statement, Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. praised Aquino for ditching macho posturing and politicking in the SONA and focusing instead on his programs.
"Habang maraming mga importanteng paksa ang hindi nabanggit at natugunan sa SONA, I feel that this was his most decent. Pinili niya na sumentro sa mga programa at proyekto sa halip na magpa-macho, mamulitika, at magpatutsada," he said.
Revilla said the President could have accomplished more in the past four years if he had adopted a similar tack since taking office in 2010.
"Kung mula noong 2010 ay ganito ang kanyang naging
attitude at pananaw sa panunungkulan, napagkaisa sana niya ang bansa, at higit pang nabigyan ng atensyon ang kalagayan ng ating mga kababayan. Mas marami sana siyang nagawa. His being emotional shows this realization," he said.
Similarly, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada also praised President Aquino for spending much of his SONA enumerating completed projects and accomplishments.
"Though the past year of the administration has been rocked by numerous controversies, calamities and early politicking, we must give credit to the Aquino government for steering the PH economy into becoming one of the region's most resilient and robust," he said in a statement.
However, he also pointed out that the President failed to give recognition to overseas Filipino workers and their contribution to the economy.
He also chided Aquino for failing to mention the Freedom of Information bill after saying that he wants the measure passed before he steps down in 2016.
Revilla and Estrada are both detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame after being slapped with graft and plunder cases in connection with the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
Revilla and Estrada had accused Malacanang of using selective justice against them, saying that the President's own allies have also been accused of stealing their pork barrel funds.
For his part, Sen. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito described Aquino's latest address as the "best SONA so far because of its simplicity."
"There were no bashings or innuendos against his perceived political enemies. Like some of our countrymen, I was also affected when the president became emotional at the end of his speech," he said.
However, he also pointed out that the President was not given accurate facts and figures on inclusive growth by the people around him, particularly some members of his Cabinet.
Ejercito said the President was particularly misinformed on the agriculture sector especially since the Department of Agriculture has yet to fulfill its promise to export rice.
He also said Aquino did not lengthily discuss the impending power crisis.
"I worry that all the economic gains which the President boasted about will be wiped out because of the power crisis. He failed to provide immediate and concrete solutions and plans about this in his speech," he said.
He also said President Aquino should not treat all criticisms as attacks against him. This is after Aquino turned emotional near the end of his SONA.
"In a democracy, the role of the opposition is vital as fiscalizer. We may be raising issues that his allies and cabinet will not tell him," he said.