Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman Sr. delivered a counter-State of the Nation Address (SONA), even as he framed himself as the authentic minority opposite the established House minority bloc led by 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan.

Rep. Edcel Lagman delivers “counter-SONA” before the 19th Congress (Screencap from House of Representatives livestream)

As per tradition, the House minority bloc delivers its own “counter-SONA” in response to the President’s SONA.

However, after Minority leader Libanan delivered his counter-SONA during the House session on Tuesday afternoon, July 26, Lagman opted to deliver his own.


“Let me start by expressing my disappointment and disenchantment in the new House leadership’s and the new administration’s perpetuating the practice of anointing the majority’s minority leader. This is an open secret, a brutal fact,” Lagman began his address before the House plenary.

It should be noted that during the July 25 election for the House Speakership in which Romualdez was the sole nominee, 284 lawmakers voted yes; 21 did not participate; while four vocally abstained from the vote. Only one solon openly dissented: Lagman.

“A eunuch of a minority leader who is a convenient adjunct of the majority coalition makes parliamentary democracy a shameful farce. Seeking refuge under the wings of the ruling majority at the expense of one’s convictions is abhorrent. Self-respect is precious. It is not a commodity for partisan haggling.” Lagman continued, referring to Libanan; the latter was elected Minority leader during a Minority bloc session on July 25.


Libanan, to Lagman, is a shoo-in of the administration-aligned majority. Libanan’s 4Ps Party-list had previously declared support for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio.

President Marcos and Minority Leader 4PS Rep. Libanan share the stage during a Marcos 2022 campaign sortie (Photo from 4Ps Party-list Facebook page)

“But some rationalize that that is how the cookie crumbles. But a cookie of stronger stuff does not crumble!” the Bicolano said.

“I am delivering this Counter SONA as an opposition member of the House who is not beholden to the majority, and who is ready to expose the administration’s importuning and excesses but will critically cooperate with the ruling coalition once necessary in the interest of the nation,” Lagman clarified.

On top of this, Lagman offered his own thoughts and solutions to economic recovery, agricultural woes, government rightsizing, labor concerns, and the territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

In one instance, Lagman even pointed out the President’s failure to acknowledge his stance on human rights and the human rights violations during Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s martial law, something Lagman thinks is essential to achieving unity.

“The new President glaringly failed to mention in his SONA his stand on human rights…The President should be reminded that it is imperative to talk about the past. That to be silent about the past is to obliterate it together with the lessons and guidance that it provides,” Lagman lamented.

“‘Unity’ has been the clarion call of Marcos, Jr. since the electoral campaign. Starkly absent from this call are the concrete bases of unity. For the victims and survivors of human rights violations there can be no reconciliation, much less unity, without truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition of the State-sponsored brutalities. It is incumbent for the new administration to institute reforms to ensure realization of these four pillars of dealing with the past and to permanently rid the country of human rights transgressions,” Lagman, a human rights lawyer, said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (