Representative Lagman critiques Duterte’s SONA and policies

Representative Lagman critiques Duterte’s SONA and policies

- On Wednesday, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman aired out his comments regarding the adlibs and missed points on Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA)

- The lowering of criminal liability, amendment of the 1987 constitution, reinstatement of the death penalty, and attack on human rights were also mentioned by the lawyer

- These policies were presented by Representative Alvarez to the 17th congress

Representative Edcel Lagman of the minority bloc called out the adlibs and lack of focus on President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) which was delivered last Monday, July 25.

During an interview on Wednesday, the politician pointed out that instead of a prepared script containing proposed laws, policies, and the assessment of the country, the president’s speech was filled with adlibs and catchy comments which made him lose focus and miss important points.

The congressman of Albay took the opportunity to raise his concerns on the different legislative policies being campaigned by the head of the state. The newly elected Speaker of the House of Representative, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon ‘Bobot’ Alvarez laid them out on Monday before the 17 congress.

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Representative Lagman critiques Duterte’s SONA and policies
Lagman took the time to point out the flaws in Duterte’s SONA and the legislative laws under his government. (Photo credit:

First was the bill that aims to reinstate death penalty. Lagman called it “antipoor” since if implemented, the citizens who can’t afford their lawyer fees may not have a shot on getting acquitted. According to him, when the law was lifted up during Arroyo’s regime, only 7 convicts from upper working class were on the death row while around 73.1 percent were from the low income class.

Lagman also tackled that criminal liability should still be imposed on adults and not on minors as young as 9 years old. The 74-year old lawyer reminded that the country is a signatory of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and passing the bill would mean failure in upholding these obligations.

Last on his list was the suggested amendment of the constitution to make way for Federalism, something Duterte has been rallying ever since the start of his campaign. He, like the other critics, didn’t fail to mention the empowering of political dynasties in the Philippines on top of the possibility of worsening regional tensions.

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Furthermore, the cost which could reach billions of pesos in order impose these changes was an issue for him.

What does he have to say about Duterte’s statement on criminals and drug pushers using human rights as their defense?

“No cause is more worthy than the cause of human rights … they are what makes a man human. Deny them and you deny man’s humanity,” was his response as he quoted Jose Dioknio, a human rights advocate.

Lagman graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law and is currently a human rights lawyer. He was the principal author of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill and served as the Minority Floor Leader in 2012. -Kami Media

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