For the 4th time in a row, former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will not attend the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of his successor President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was confirmed by a source on Saturday, July 13.
Following tradition and protocol, former presidents have been invited to attend Duterte’s 4th SONA, which the President will be delivering before a joint session of the 18th Congress to be held at the Batasang Pambansa on July 22.
Aquino, the chairman emeritus of the once ruling Liberal Party (LP), had also skipped Duterte’s first 3 SONAs, saying he prefers to watch the speech on television so he could concentrate on what Duterte had to say rather than on the comments of the people he would be seated with.
Aquino’s absence during Duterte’s SONAs is also not surprising. Both the President and his allies have been criticizing the LP, accusing the party of working with several opposition leaders and groups of plotting to oust Duterte.
LP, however, has repeatedly denied this claim, arguing the party does not have the money nor the machinery to mount a coup against the still-popular Duterte.
Aquino is also facing several complaints filed by Duterte allies over the P3.5-billion procurement of Dengvaxia vaccines.
Last month, Ombudsman Samuel Martires has withdrawn charges of graft and usurpation of official functions against Aquino over the Mamasapano clash.