Filipinos’ annual “SONAmbulism”



By Herman Tiu Laurel

                The Philippines just had another of its yearly sleep-walking tour of the state of the country and its people it calls the SONA. This has been going on since the tradition was established under the U.S. Commonwealth Period with President Manuel L. Quezon in 1935.

                I can’t tell how meaningful those SONAs of Quezon’s time were but since the 1945 “grant of independence” we can say that were all basically meaningless talk about a democratic and independent state that was a neo-colony under a vassal plutocracy.

                The Martial Law Period of the late President Edralin Marcos, Sr. started to change the reality and directed the country towards real independence, sovereignty, and development.

                The State started the decoupling from the U.S., attenuated the Parity Right Agreement and the tenure of the U.S. Bases, started the 11-Industrial Projects and established domestic energy sources including the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

                Since the fall of Marcos Sr. however, all the SONAs have been shams except during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s six years.

                The Cory Aquino administration between 1986 and 1992 was particularly delusional, spewing the word democracy and extolling its restoration while restoring the full control of State assets generating non-tax revenues for the people into the hands of the US-vassal Filipino oligarchy, reinforcing plutocracy, destroying national productivity in agriculture (charging irrigation fee for example) and industry (highest cost of power in Asia due to privatization).

                The succeeding administrations followed suit ending with Gloria Arroyo and Noynoy Aquino putting the US-oligarchy rule back in full reign.

                After 30-years of the Cory Aquino yellow-colored era the Filipino people wised up to the empty rhetoric and grandiose flowery images and promises of democracy its fruits which turned out for their palates to be the bitterest, sourest and disastrously ulcerous for stomachs of their families.

                Thru the decades each SONA of the Yellow presidents promised change for the better each year but only change for the bitter came again and again. The people can be fooled for a long time, but not forever and forever – after 30  years of the painful broken promises real change came.

                In the 2016 elections, from out of a crop of primarily Yellow candidates – Poe, Roxas, Binay – the voters chose a totally incongruent political character from a provincial city all the way down the farthest south of the country with coarse language and crass humor – Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to change the country.

                From Day 1 of Duterte governance he made clear that his words meant action to change reality from the sordid and delusional to the ideal and real. He went after the illegal drugs networks, “separated from America”, opened to China and bought immediate benefits.

                When Duterte spoke things happened, change for the better were felt. Thus, each year that Duterte stood for his SONA in the tradition set since 1935, people did not expect highfaluting, hyperbolic self-praise and delusional accomplishments for the people’s welfare and global diplomacy, he presented real achievement the people tangibly and palpably felt and saw.

                The 2022 presidential elections came, Duterte had to vacate, we supported the candidate closest to the values of Duterte (or at least we thought at that time) due to his daughter running with Ferdinand Marcos running mate, although Duterte had already warned that the candidate is weak and incompetent.

                The other candidate was simply too much of an American clod and, as our electoral system inevitably forces voters to do, voters had to choose the lesser incompetent – Bongbong Marcos, Jr. It didn’t take a full year for this Marcos to turn against the expectations he created in the heart of the public – wearing the collar of American vassalage again, conspiring with the oligarchy, conniving with the corrupt.

                Mr. Weak and Incompetent had his latest SONA, but what could he report to the nation? So, Bongbong Marcos had to give one of the shortest, emptiest SONA speech ever heard in the last 50 years since I started following such speeches. Of course, we noted, it was all lies, as exemplified by the lie that no one missed when BBM said:

                “Sa mga nakalipas nma buwan, nakita natin ang pagbaba ng presyo ng bilihin sa iba’t ibang mga sector. Napatunayan natin na kayang maibaba ang presyo ng bigas, karne, isda, gulay, at asukal.” People shook their heads upon hearing these words that are totally false and out-of-touch-with reality. That really sums up BBM’s SONA, plus one more that I said and was quoted by the Manila Times:

                “… PBBM President Bongbong Marcos sneaks in his real allegiance declaring in his speech his ‘defense of a rules-based international order’ — the code name for US hegemony and perpetual war,” Herman Tiu Laurel of the Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies told The Manila Times on Monday in reaction to President Marcos’ SONA. “This portends doom and gloom for the future of the Philippines.”

                “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus”, now we know why there are so many movements to do something about this problem PBBM.

<strong>Herman “Ka Mentong” Tiu Laurel</strong>
Herman “Ka Mentong” Tiu Laurel

is a broadcast journalist. He is a former columnist of Daily Tribune (INFOWARS and DIE HARD III; Mondays and Wednesday) and OpinYon (Consumers’ Demand!, Critic’s Critic, and People’s Struggle; weekly).
He hosted Talk News TV and Journeys: Chronicles of our Asian Century, both on Global News Network.
He is now the host of the radio and live stream program Global Talk News Radio for Radyo Pilipinas 1 – 738AM, which broadcasts every Sunday 8AM to 10AM.
While in quarantine, he is hosting the live stream program Power Thinks on his personal Facebook page Herman Laurel ( and the Global Talk News Radio Facebook page (
He was also the former Administrator of the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC; now called the Bataan Technology Park, Inc.) during the administration of Corazon C. Aquino.

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