I know a SONA traditionally follows an expected format. To borrow from UP professor Alex Magno, a SONA is basically a technical report (of accomplishments and broad plans) delivered by the country's chief executive to its board (which is Congress).
No one reports a grim picture to the board. And indeed much like in previous SONAs it went that PGMA delivered her latest filled with graphs of climbing bars and arrows and pictures of smiling faces of people. It was even supplemented by live exhibits well positioned in the gallery, among them the now world-renowned Manny Pacquiao (just about the only thing that lent credibility to the whole oral exhibition even if the Pacman's own accomplishments has got nothing to do with PGMA's administration at all).
PGMA may have succeeded in eliciting rounds of applause from her own bunch of eunuchs and harems. But for the nth time she again missed the whole point of truly reporting to the people upon whom is rested the whole rationale of her presidency (or the government for that matter). Perhaps, she thought she only needed to report to her harem and eunuchs.
The people do not need figures and pictures. They used to but not anymore. They have all the right senses working at ground level to tell them if the country is doing good or not. In a SONA, they now need to see, hear or feel something else beyond the numbers and graphs; something more reassuring.
This afternoon I chose to watch the SONA over doing Farm Town in Facebook; not in order to know how many roadges have been built but to try to peek through the eyes of the person and find out if the sincerity and truthfulness that were once lost among the words "I am sorry" (and "I will not run" before that) have eventually found their way back to her soul in this final stretch of her reign. I failed.
Maybe my eyes were blinded by the weak signal of ANC channel on my cable TV so that the genuineness I was looking for went by unnoticed. Maybe I should indeed blame the said TV Network for showing rushes of former President Cory Aquino's own ultimate SONA in 1991 beforehand; for these raised the standards of sincerity so well for any level of it to be found in PGMA's speech.
The basics of sincerity, truthfulness and all the other associated virtues of credibility, integrity, honesty, transparency, and delicadeza in governance, have been ravaged down to its smallest fabric by this dispensation since it began in 2001. Yet again the latest SONA reported nothing on the status of the nation along these criteria.
After listening to the SONA, perhaps some of you have asked yourselves the same question that I had asked myself: "If everything in our country is doing ok, then what's our problem?"
But hey, maybe there's hope. With elections in the horizon, the President actually hit the point with a hue of sincerity when she advised her critics to "stop saying bad words in public". It was like saying, "be more discreet and use the phone; just be sure the lines are not tapped... right, Garci?"