By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
MALACAÑANG ON Monday announced that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will “speak to the nation” on Tuesday afternoon.
“Well, he announced in Davao that he wants to speak to the nation; and if I’m not mistaken, it is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Sept. 11),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a press briefing.
When asked about what the President will talk about, Mr. Roque said: “Hindi ko po alam (I don’t know), but he will talk to the people. I did not know about it, he just said he wants to talk to the nation so wala po akong alam sa sasabihin ni Presidente bukas (I have no idea what the President will talk about tomorrow). He’s still in Davao, we expect him back today. I would hope to talk to him before the press briefing to at least find out if he wants to do it in our press room. I hope he does it here in our press room.”
Sought for comment, Dr. Perlita M. Frago-Marasigan, University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman Political Science assistant professor, said in a phone message: “We know that President Duterte gives almost a knee-jerk reaction or repartee to every issue that is hurled upon him by his critics and dissenters. I think that given all the events that have transpired since last week, amidst the Trillanes-Calida standoff and the hyperinflation that caused the alleged ‘divisiveness’ among the ranks of the military, and the brewing destabilization plots that are allegedly orchestrated by opposition forces, there is no reason to be unsettled about tomorrow’s announcement.”
For his part, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform executive director Ramon C. Casiple said: “It’s probably on the [destabilization] plot. There’s also the possibility of major revamp or policy shift.”
Ms. Frago-Marasigan also said that “it will be bad timing” for the President “to declare martial law” this time. “That move will be bad for our economy and to the Filipino people. History cannot be repeated this time. Whoever is behind the said destabilization attempts should also think twice about the people and not about their particularistic interests,” she said.
“Hopefully, tomorrow’s announcement is just a way of letting off steam on the part of the President; and mostly, an attempt to show everyone that he is still in control. Honestly, rather than creating more enemies, I wish that he would give more assurance that his administration is doing its best to address all these political and economic issues,” Ms. Frago-Marasigan added.