3 options readied for Duterte's SONA but Palace prefers address in Malacañang- Sotto

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2020 04:34 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa on July 24, 2017. Karl Norman Alonzo, Malacañang Photo/File Photo

MANILA - Three scenarios are being considered for President Rodrigo Duterte's 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) but the Palace prefers that the address be made in Malacañang as the COVID-19 threat remains, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday.

The executive and legislative departments are considering "3 options" on how the SONA this year would be held without violating physical distancing policies, Sotto said in an online press conference.

There is a plan to hold a traditional SONA in the Batasang Pambansa without guests, and 2 other plans where the President will deliver his speech via videoconferencing, the Senate President said.

"I think they would go for option number 2 or 3... na ang Presidente ay nasa Malacañang (where the President is in Malacañang)," he said.

Under option 2, Duterte will stay in Malacañang while senators and House members convene in the Batasang Pambansa.

Under option 3, Duterte will still be in the Palace, but senators and House members will listen to his speech in their respective session halls in Pasay City and in Quezon City.

"'Yung 3 points (President, Senate, House of Representatives) will be live in their areas... Palagay ko puwede din nasa bahay 'yung iba [na congressmen]," Sotto said, noting that both chambers have been allowing members to conduct sessions through videoconferencing as the pandemic continued.

(The 3 points will be live in their areas... I think we can also allow other members to stay at home.)

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said that it would be "impossible" for the SONA to proceed "as usual" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President delivers his report to the nation every fourth Monday of July.