The guests’ intermittent applause during the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday interrupted and figured into the nearly 3-hour speech repeatedly.
Even Duterte himself noticed the spontaneous clapping of the guests at the Batasang Pambansa hall and went off-script to comment on the applause.
The number of claps has been among the non-speech-related highlights during SONA events yearly.
This time though there were claps even at awkward intervals, such as when Duterte gave trivial details while introducing a topic.
In one instance, clapping punctuated as Duterte cited infrastructure and transportation efforts. He taunted the audience in jest: “Pangatawanan niyo yang palakpak niyo ha.”
When Duterte had trouble reading the teleprompter, he quipped at the audience: “Madali lang pumalakpak, mahirap ‘yung magbasa.”
Guests also applauded after.
Before the end of his address, Duterte again noticed the clapping in bad timing. “Applause went ahead of realization. You have to work on this guys,” he said.
There was applause, too, when Duterte joked about needing to go to the restroom for a pee right before he concluded the lengthiest SONA in the last three decades.
What Filipinos on social media are saying
Some Filipinos streaming his SONA online observed the peculiar timing of the claps. A Twitter user even managed to make a copy of the moment Duterte mentioned it.
Others wondered if the members of the audience were really listening to him or merely following cues to clap.
“Palakpakan talaga dahil drowsy ang teleprompter operator?! Achievement?” one user said.
“Dinemonstrate talaga ni Duterte kung gaano ka-tuta ang kalakhan ng kongreso. Palakpak!” another user commented.
Writer Jerry Gracio observed that how officials may tend to brownnose Duterte.
“Alam mong sipsip mga nakapaligid sa ‘yo, kung panay ang palakpak nila sa kapalpakan mo,” he said.
Others even wondered if the cheers were directed.
“Scripted ba ‘yung palakpak after DU30’s statement? Awkward po minsan when they clap after he makes a joke or [finishes] a sentence,” one user said.
Duterte ended his more three-hour SONA at 7 p.m.
He tackled the drug war, the International Criminal Court probe, his anti-communism campaign, the West Philippine Sea row and relations with China, the national government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other claims about the achievements of his administration in the past five years.