After Sotto confirms SONA at Batasan, Palace says unsure if Duterte will deliver address from Congress
President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his state of the nation address at Congress in Manila on July 22, 2019. Duterte's 2019 SONA speech lasted for 93 minutes. The prepared speech of the president, who is known to make long-winding, impromptu remarks, initially was said to last for 45 minutes.
Noel Celis/AFP

After Sotto confirms SONA at Batasan, Palace says unsure if Duterte will deliver address from Congress

(Philstar.com) - July 16, 2020 - 2:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — (Updated 4:42 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address from the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on July 27, Senate President Tito Sotto confirmed.

Sotto on Thursday said that the number of attendees would be limited to 50.

He added that only eight senators and 13 members from the House of Representatives will be allowed inside the venue. 

However, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that as many as 25 members of the House might be at the address along with senators.

"The venue is confirmed, it is Batasan. But from what I know, it's not yet 100% sure if the president will physically attend of if he will broadcast from [Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang] to Congress," Roque said said in a mix of English and Filipino during Thursday's Palace briefing. 

In June, the House was considering holding a virtual SONA for the first time in history as the nation is in the midst of grappling with the novel coronavirus crisis.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano revealed that the address would most likely be a “blended” style or a mix of actual and virtual session similar to the teleconference-type sessions being held by Congress.

Under this setup, a limited number of guests would be physically present in the session hall while the rest of the lawmakers attend through an online teleconferencing app.

Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution requires the president to "address the Congress at the opening of its regular session.” — Bella Perez-Rubio 

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