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Palace: PNoy's 5th SONA will push through without Lani

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is unfazed by Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado’s decision to snub President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month, saying the event will push through despite her absence.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda noted that every lawmaker has the right to decide whether to attend or to skip the annual address.

“I think it’s the right of every person, of every representative or senator to opt to attend or not,” Lacierda said in a press conference on Monday.

“It (SONA) is a national event. It is a constitutionally mandated event and the President will deliver his State of the Nation Address regardless of reactions of some public officials who seemed to have been affected by the PDAF scam,” he added.

Earlier, Mercado said she is skipping Aquino’s SONA, claiming she and her husband Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. have been victims of the administration’s shame campaign.

Revilla is facing plunder charges over his alleged misuse of pork barrel funds and is now detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Mercado believes Aquino will mention her husband’s detention in his fifth SONA.

Malacañang earlier said the president won’t humiliate Revilla in his address on July 28.

“We respect and recognize her (Mercado) right to express her feelings,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an earlier interview. “Our President had no such plans.”

Aquino, however, previously issued statements that are widely believed to be referring to Revilla.

During his latest Independence Day message, Aquino took a swipe at entertainment personalities, saying the country does not need people who can deliver lines, sing or dance.

Revilla is an actor and continued to appear in movies and television shows while in public office.

In a political rally in Revilla’s home province Cavite last February, Aquino urged the electorate not to rely on amulets, an obvious reference to the senator’s fantasy flicks. – with reports from Venice Amoroso

AQUINO

CAMP CRAME

CAVITE REP

EDWIN LACIERDA

INDEPENDENCE DAY

LANI MERCADO

MERCADO

REVILLA

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

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