MANILA, July 27 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday started his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) by enumerating alleged scams under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Noong mga panahong iyon, miski bata, natutunan na ang salitang scam,” Aquino said.
The President particularly recounted the multimillion-peso fertilizer fund scam.
“Sino kaya ang napataba ng patabang ito? Klarong hindi lupa o magsasaka,” Aquino said.
He also reminded the public of the allegedly anomalous NBN-ZTE broadband deal entered into by the previous administration.
At present, Mrs. Arroyo is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City over plunder charges arising from the alleged misuse of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during her incumbency.
Before starting his speech, the President apologized for not doing the traditional walk to shake the hands of lawmakers, saying he is not feeling well.
Aquino was nevertheless welcomed by lawmakers, most of them his allies, with a rousing round of applause and a standing ovation when he was entering the House plenary hall.
This led House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to remark, “Nakakataba ng puso.” Aquino was beaming while looking down at Congress members from the rostrum.
Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon then called the joint session of Congress to order. Religious leaders from the Roman Catholic Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos led the prayer. (MNS)