Sara cited as excuse a 60-day medical leave for a gynecological condition while Sebastian said there would be important things to tackle in the City Council session the following day. Their brother, Davao City first district Rep. Paolo Duterte, is expected to attend the event as this will also mark his first session with the opening of the 18th Congress.
Jefrey Tupas
Sara, Baste to skip 4th SONA
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY  , Philippines  —   Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and her brother Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte reportedly will not be attending the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of their father, President Duterte, on Monday.

Sara cited as excuse a 60-day medical leave for a gynecological condition while Sebastian said there would be important things to tackle in the City Council session the following day. Their brother, Davao City first district Rep. Paolo Duterte, is expected to attend the event as this will also mark his first session with the opening of the 18th Congress.

Malacañang is praying for Sara’s speedy recovery, with presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo saying “we can only pray for her safety and/or recovery from whatever illness that she is presently suffering (from).”

It still could not be ascertained if their mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman, the President’s first wife, will be attending the SONA.

The President’s partner Cielito Avanceña and their daughter Veronica are expected to accompany Duterte in the short helicopter ride from Malacañang grounds to the Batasang Pambansa complex where the SONA will be held. 

In the past three SONAs of the President, his three children and their respective families as well as Zimmerman were in attendance.

As part of the security protocol, House of Representatives acting Secretary-General Dante Roberto Maling advised the public that the 16-hectare Batasan complex in Quezon City will be on a “complete lockout” starting today.

He explained that this lockout, where personnel and non-employees of the chamber who have no official business will not be allowed inside the complex, is part of the security requirements imposed by the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said security preparations for Monday’s SONA are 100 percent ready with more than 8,500 policemen set to be deployed. Standby forces from other regions are also ready in case there is a need for reinforcements. 

“Everything is in place,” he said during a briefing, adding that the intelligence units have not monitored any threat from groups or individuals. He declared that the PNP would implement stricter security protocols, especially following the recent bombing incidents in Mindanao.

Protest actions could again be held near the St. Peter Parish along Commonwealth Avenue, while pro-government rallies can be held near the Batasan. House sergeant-at-arms Romeo Prestoza earlier told newsmen that “there’s no substantial or credible threat” to Duterte.

“If ever, we are always prepared. And we have extensive preparations and coordination with intelligence agencies like the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the AFP),” he said. 

The installation of signal jammers for cellular phones would depend entirely on the PSG, he added.

This year’s SONA will be different from past occasions, with a live symphony orchestra playing for the first time in Congress’ history. – With Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero, Romina Cabrera, Rhodina Villanueva, Jaime Laude

SARA DUTERTE-CARPIO SEBASTIAN DUTERTE
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