Palace looking for ‘better speechwriters’ for Duterte

Published July 19, 2018, 2:54 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang is looking for “better speechwriters” for President Duterte after he often discarded prepared speeches in public events.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said he wants to find people who have the skill to craft speeches the President would actually read during his public engagements.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Roque made the remarks ahead of the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a joint session of Congress on Monday. The Palace earlier said Duterte was expected to deliver a 35-minute speech that will likely dwell on his campaign against illegal drugs and campaign as well as his pitch for federalism.

“I have promised him that I will help for better speechwriters who will actually write speeches that he will actually read,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

Roque said he would also advise the President to “stick with the prepared script” as much as possible.

Since he assumed office in 2016, the President has often delivered long impromptu speeches peppered with curses, jokes, and rants. He tends to ramble on many topics and unleashes angry outbursts when tackling contentious issues such as his war on drugs and conflict with the Catholic Church.

The Palace speechwriters usually prepared two or three-page speech for the President but these were often ignored by Duterte who found them too formal and short. Duterte previously explained that he prefers to express his sentiment to the audience since a written speech does not reflect his real emotion.

“I will just veer off a little from my prepared speech. Anyway, hindi naman ito talaga akin. Isinulat lang para sa akin so just to be read [Anyway, this not really mine. This was written for me so just to be read],” Duterte said during an entrepreneurship summit in Clark Pampanga last July 10.

“The longest that I delivered speeches is about three minutes. That was my policy,” he added.

But just last Tuesday, the President managed to deliver two prepared speeches during the groundbreaking of two China-funded bridges in Manila and a Philippine Airlines event in Pasay City. But he still inserted a few ad lib remarks during the formal speeches, that lasted less than 10 minutes.