After leadership row, congressmen battle for House minority

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2018   •   2953

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The tables are turning in the House of Representatives (HOR) after the sudden taking over of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

After the leadership struggle, tensions are seemingly brewing among the congressmen as to who will be recognized as the House minority bloc.

Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez is still holding the grip as the House Minority Leader despite being among the front-runners of the “oust Alvarez” group and the installation of Arroyo.

But according to the Liberal Party congressmen, the House rules clearly dictate that they are the official members of the minority bloc.

“Rules are very specific. Kapag bumoto ka sa nanalong speaker, majority ka. Papano nating tatanggapin na ang magiging minority ay ang mga taong tumulong iluklok ang current speaker?” argued Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo.

Nevertheless, LP members said they welcome the members of the Makabayan bloc and Alvarez’ group with open arms if they want to join the LP. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo

Cayetano assures no delay in passing 2020 proposed National Budget

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured that there will be no delays in the passage of the proposed National Budget for 2020 in the House of Representative (HOR).

However, there will be slight changes in the budget of several agencies such as the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy and Health.

The Lower House also vowed to scrutinize the funds for infrastructure projects to prevent ‘cuts’ or corruption in the government’s projects.

“There will be no post budget enactment intervention by any member of Congress dyan,” Cayetano said.

“So iyong ‘no pork, no parking, no delay,’ iyan na rin ang mantra namin, ( ‘No pork, no parking, no delay, that is our mantra now to),” Cayeteno said. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

House minority eyes probe on alleged corruption in PCSO, Philhealth

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The minority bloc of the House of Representatives is calling for an investigation into the alleged corruption within the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).

Under House Resolution No. 141, Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Jr. urged the House Committee on Games and Amusement to conduct an inquiry into the closure of PCSO gaming outlets due to corruption allegations.

“Clearly, we have to get to the bottom of these charges of corruption and it is with this goal in mind that I filed House Resolution 141 directing the House Committee on Games and Amusements to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the closure of all PCSO outlets due to massive corruption,” Abante said in a press briefing.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the suspension of all PCSO gaming operations citing massive corruption in the agency. More than 20,000 PCSO outlets were shut down over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Duterte ordered the lifting of the ban on lotto games after investigators found no anomalies in the conduct of its operations. Lotto operations have resumed Wednesday.

READ: Duterte lifts suspension of lotto operations

However, other gaming schemes with franchises, licenses or permits granted by PCSO such as STL, keno and Peryahan ng Bayan shall remain suspended “pending the investigation of illegal activities and corrupt practices related thereto until the Office of the President evaluates the results of said probe.” 

Aside from PCSO anomalies, Abante is also eyeing to get into the bottom of the corruption claims against Philhealth following the issue on “ghost dialysis” scam, which is said to be anomalous Philhealth claims allegedly made by the WellMed Dialysis Center for already deceased patients. (with details from Grace Casin)

Duterte not endorsing anyone for House Speaker; lets congressmen decide

Marje Pelayo   •   June 26, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte. | ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The race for the next speaker of the House of Representatives (HOR) gets more intense less than a month before the 18th Congress formally opens.

Government allies have been waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to make a decision on who he thinks the next speaker should be who could help him push his administration’s legislative agenda.

During the oath taking ceremony at Malacañang on Tuesday (June 25), President Duterte asked newly elected congressmen to give him until June 28 to make a decision.

However, the President seems to prefer not to endorse anyone for the speakership post.

In his speech, President Duterte said he asked House Speaker Gloria Arroyo to choose her own successor.

The conversation, he said, happened during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s thanksgiving party.

The President said he asked Arroyo to spare him the burden of having to choose among his friends who were vying for the post.

“Sabi ko, ikaw na ang mamili ng speaker, (I told [Arroyo] to choose a speaker for me),” the President said.

“Tinawag ko si Cayetano, Alvarez, si Velasco, si Bebot na hindi naman lumapit. ‘Mamili ka na, ma’am,’ sabi ko, ‘hindi ako nagbobolahan.'”

(I called Cayetano, Alvarez, Velasco and Bebot. I told her, “You choose, ma’am. I am not joking.”)

“‘I will ask a favor from you [Arroyo]. Huwag mo na akong bigyan ng sakit ng loob (Don’t make it hard for me) because they are all my friends. I do not want to hurt anybody lalo na iyan. Ikaw na lang, tutal ikaw ang pinaka-senior dito, (I’ll let you do it, after all, you are the most senior here),” he added.

President Duterte did say that the incumbent Speaker refused to choose the next House leader for him.

He then told the congressmen to pick their leader themselves and make their decision.

“You have to decide. You can do it by party (or) affiliation. You can take out of Hugpong for the meantime because it’s just a foisted political party for the purpose of election,” the President said.

“Huwag na lang akong isali ninyo, (Just spare me),” he concluded.

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