Sara fails to attend SONA but had breakfast with Lower House leaders

Published July 26, 2021, 3:15 PM

by Ben Rosario

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, seen as the favorite to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte if she decides to participate in next year’s presidential polls, was unable to join her father for his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) but nonetheless met with leaders of the House of Representatives for a virtual breakfast meeting on Monday, July 26.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

The presidential daughter joined lawmakers led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco via zoom to personally thank them for supporting President Duterte throughout his past five years in office.

“I would like to greet everyone happy SONA day thank you for your support for President Duterte. Hindi ninyo siya iniwanan (You did not abandon him) in his six years and hanggang ngayon (until now) you support him sa mga kailangan niyang gawin (in what is needed to be done) especially with the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Mayor Duterte stated.

“I hope that until June 30 of next year nandiyan kayo para sa kanya (you are all there for him),” she added.

Mayor Duterte has maintained strong alliances with many House members, especially leaders elected following Velasco’s election as speaker.

It was widely believed that she was behind the ouster of former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who later bolted the PDP-Laban headed by President Duterte, to revive Reporma party.

Alvarez was replaced by former president and then Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a close friend of Mayor Duterte, as leader of the 17th Congress.

The city mayor had announced her intention not to attend the SONA event held at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City but did not give any reason for her decision.

However, she disclosed in a radio program that she does not “normally attend” such events, pointing out that only did it twice in her entire life.

According to the city mayor, she first attended a SONA during the term of President Joseph Estrada and another under her father’s term.

However, her elder brother, Davao City Rep. Paulo Duterte was expected to be at the House of Representatives plenary hall for his father’s last SONA.