Leftist lawmakers walk out as SONA begins

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio said he and his colleagues would rather attend the “SONA of the Masses,” a rally outside Congress.

Bayan Muna Rep Neri Colmenares told reporters, “Kami ay lumabas para makiisa sa sambayanang Pilipino na kinukundina at tinutuligsa ang patuloy na korupsyon, patuloy na abuso, ni Presidente Benigno S. Aquino.”

(We walked out to join the Filipino nation in condemning and criticizing the continued corruption, continued abuses, by President Benigno S. Aquino.)

He added: “Hindi niya nirespeto ang poder ayon sa Konstitusyon ng Kongreso na siya lang ang may tungkulin na magpasa ng budget. Dagdag pa, ang mga patakaran ni Presidente Aquino na kontra mamamayan. Hindi namin maaaring pakinggan sa kanyang SONA.”

(President Aquino disrespected the mandate of Congress, according to the Constitution, that has the sole right to pass a budget. In addition, the policies of President Aquino are anti-people. We cannot listen to his SONA.)

Those who walked out included Gabriela Rep Emmi de Jesus and Kabataan Rep Terry Ridon.

Pushing for impeachment

They all endorsed impeachment complaints against Aquino.

Colmenares co-endorsed the first impeachment complaint over the DAP, a controversial spending program, 3 schemes under which the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional.

Ridon endorsed the second also over the DAP.

Tinio and De Jesus endorsed the third over the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, an deal between the Philippines and the United States that gives American troops more access to Philippine military facilities.

“It's now time to impeach the President who has further pushed our countrymen into increasing poverty,” the Makabayan bloc said in a text message.

The leftist lawmakers exited through the House of Representative's North Wing.

Aquino suffers his lowest ratings in his 4-year presidency as he delivered his SONA on Monday. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.