The Failed Rhetoric: Presupposition Analysis on Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address


  • Mary Ann Murillo De La Salle University – Dasmariñas
  • Aiden Yeh Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages


Discourse, State of the Nation Address, Political speech, presupposition, presupposition trigger


Presupposition triggers play a vital role in verbal communication. It is a linguistic element that can be employed in utterances. Language has a significant role too in the communication and interpretation of intentions by analyzing presupposition in political speeches. One example of these is the speech articulated by politicians which often serve as vehicles toward achieving their ultimate goals. This study analyzed the presupposition triggers found in the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA). Data was analyzed using critical discourse analysis (CDA), an approach to cognitively analyze how Duterte communicated his political intentions through the use of presupposition triggers. The results show that his SONA was filled with propositions that were erroneous and ambiguous. One example of his propositions was the frequently used lexical item “rest assured”, i.e., “Rest assured that we will not dodge our obligation to fight for human rights.” This highly contentious statement pertains to the killings and his war on drugs, and other human rights violations that his government is being accused of; a recrimination which alludes to the fact that the human rights crisis in the Philippines has heightened, if not worsened ever since he took office.  This study concludes that the study of presupposition enhances the comprehension of what is being communicated, particularly in political speeches where failed rhetorics could also reflect a failed state.



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Author Biography

Mary Ann Murillo, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas

First Author, Mary Ann Murillo, Ph.D. Candidate

De La Salle University – Dasmariñas

Mary Ann Murillo is an adjunct lecturer at the Center for General Education Department, AMA International University in Bahrain. She received her MA in Teaching English from De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines, and currently finishing her PhD in Language Studies through distance learning in the same University.



How to Cite

Murillo, M. A., & Yeh, A. (2021). The Failed Rhetoric: Presupposition Analysis on Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address. International Journal of Language and Literary Studies, 3(2), 1–20.