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President Benigno Aquino III will push through with his State of the Nation Address (SONA) even with the absence of some personalities, including Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado.
Mercado, the wife of Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., said over the weekened that she would skip the SONA because she expected the President to crow about her husband's arrest and detention over the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Revilla is facing graft and plunder charges before the anti-graft court in connection with the multibillion-peso scam.
"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. That is a constitutional mandated event that the President is obligated to deliver," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a news conference.
Lacierda, nonetheless, said Mercado was well within her rights not to attend the SONA.
"I think it’s… the right of every person, of every representative or senator to opt to attend or not," Lacierda said.
The Palace official, however, said he didn't know what the contents of this year's SONA woud be.
"Hindi pa [namin] napag-uusapan yan... [and] the speechwriters have not met with the President on the SONA," Lacierda said.
Mercado said this would be the second time she would skip Aquino's SONA, which is scheduled July 28 at the House of Representatives' complex in Quezon City.
On Friday, Revilla was placed under detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, after he surrendered to the Sandiganbayan. —NB, GMA News