Duterte sticks to SONA script

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2018 07:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2018 08:07 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) For the first time, President Rodrigo Duterte largely stuck to his prepared speech for his State of the Nation Address (SONA), which is also the shortest in his three annual reports to the nation so far.

Duterte’s expletive-free speech lasted for nearly 50 minutes, beginning at around 5:20 p.m. and ending at 6:10 p.m.

Malacañang earlier estimated that the President’s third SONA would last for 35 to 45 minutes.

Duterte started his speech later than expected as the Congress grappled with the sudden change of leadership at the House of Representatives. As Duterte was about to arrive at the Batasan Pambansa, former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as the new Speaker, replacing Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Malacañang also had to make last-minute changes in the President’s speech as the House of Representatives failed to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Duterte was expected to sign the bill into law in time for his SONA, but the House of Representatives adjourned Monday’s session without having ratified the proposed measure.

Duterte's 2017 SONA lasted for 120 minutes, double the 50 minutes it was estimated to last, as the chief executive broke from what the teleprompter flashed by delivering jokes and impromptu remarks.

Duterte's first SONA ran for more than 90 minutes.