Roque on 2020 SONA: Too long, not enough 'quotable quotes'

President Rodrigo Duterte's own spokesman is not 100% satisfied with his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Secretary Harry Roque could not stop himself from giving a little critique of the Chief Executive's nearly-two-hour long speech on Monday, July 27, which was written by Malacañang communication staff.

Rating the SONA 9 out of 10, Roque said he found the speech too long.

"Number one: mahaba, one hour and 40 [minutes], eh mayroon na pong pre-SONA [fora]," said Roque on Tuesday during his post-SONA press briefing.

(Number one: it was long, one hour and 40 minutes, when we already have the pre-SONA fora.)

The pre-SONA fora was a 3-part presentation and press conference where Cabinet secretaries reported on the accomplishments of their departments for the past year. It was devised as a way to inform the public of the government's gains so that Duterte would be free to speak his mind in the SONA itself.

Roque's next criticism was the content of the SONA. Sounding apologetic to the Malacañang speech-writing team, he said, "Pangalawa po, 'yung mga quotable quotes. Kung ako nagsulat diyan mas marami akong ilalagay na quotable quotes sa simula at sa ending ng speech."

(Second, the quotable quotes. If I wrote the speech, I would have put more quotable quotes at the start and ending of the speech.)

Roque said he was speaking from experience because he was supposedly a speech writer himself back when he was a student.

Want a quick point-by-point summary of Duterte's 5th SONA? Here's one. You can also listen to this 5-minute explanation of the SONA. –

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at