Creation of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, unconstitutional and redundant – critics

admin   •   October 6, 2017   •   5172

MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo party-list Rep Gary Alejano believes the creation of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, is unconstitutional and redundant.

The lawmaker argued that such a commission will only be used for the president’s benefits.

“This is a clear threat and intimidation to what the Ombudsman is doing. And this is also an assault on the independence of the Ombudsman,” said Alejano.

Members of the Liberal Party (LP) also criticized the said proposal of the president.

Senator Franklin Drilon said the president might use the said executive order to impose discipline, or possibly control over the officials of other branches of the government like members of the Congress, Judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Commission on Human Rights, and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Drilon explained that the creation of a presidential anti-corruption commission would violate the constitutional independence stated under the Constitution.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Bagulat, meanwhile said the plan of the president is a clear intimidation to the Office of the Ombudsman and aims to harass the critics of his administration.

On the other hand, administration ally Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the chief executive has the authority to create a separate organization.

He said the Executive branch should be able to detail the functions of the said commission.

“Let’s assume then that there is corruption in the Office of the Ombudsman, below the Office of the Ombudsman, where will the people go to? The Ombudsman? And if you were the president and you always hear such a complaint, will you just let it be? So I agree with the organization of commission but be conscious of the limits of its functions,” said Pimentel.

“They should know the extent of the power or limits of their power, the executive branch cannot discipline the ombudsman,” he added. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue


Comelec to revert weekday schedule for voter registration on Nov. 9

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 22, 2020

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Thursday (October 22) that it will revert to weekday schedule for voter registration beginning November 9.

When Comelec resumed voter registration last September 1, it was scheduled to be conducted from Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said reverting to the weekday schedule will provide the agency time to disinfect offices on Saturdays.

“The Commission on Elections deems it necessary to revert to the weekday schedule to make way for Saturday disinfection days in all Offices of the Election Officer nationwide,” he said.

However, the Comelec official clarified that voter registration in areas under localized Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) will remain suspended.

Comelec also reminded the public that minimum health safety protocols will also be implemented during the registration to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Wearing of face mask and face shield is mandatory, the number of people to be allowed inside the COMELEC office will be limited to ensure compliance with physical distancing requirements, and applicants are encouraged to bring their own pens,” Jimenez said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Ex-Comelec chairman Jose Melo passes away

Robie de Guzman   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chairman Jose Melo has passed away, the poll body’s spokesperson announced.

In a message posted on Twitter, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said Melo died on Sunday night. He was 88 years old.

“Sad news tonight. Just received word that Chairman Jose A.R. Melo, former SC Justice, and the COMELEC Chairman who oversaw the country’s transition to full automation from 2008 to 2010, has passed away. He was 88 years old,” Jimenez said.

He, however, did not disclose the cause of Melo’s death .

Prior to leading the poll body, Melo served as Supreme Court Associate Justice for nearly 10 years.

Sotto says Cayetano apologized, vowed to submit budget bill on Nov. 5

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente Sotto III confirmed on Thursday (October 8) that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has called to apologize for his remarks that implied the Senate is to blame if the 2021 national budget is delayed.

In a live broadcast on Facebook on Wednesday (October 7), Cayetano said if ever the budget is delayed, it will be on the part of the Senate.

“[If there’ll be delays or a] re-enactment it is because of the Senate, not because of the House. We waited for a month but still, we made up in time,” Cayetano said.

Sotto called out Cayetano for such a misleading remark. 

The Senate President reiterated that it is the Lower House that has delayed the budget for already a month now.

“Do not be misled. The HOR has delayed the budget for a whole month. No one can ever blame the Senate for this delay. Never!” he said.

“The nerve! Passing the blame, it’s unacceptable!” he stressed.

Sotto argued that the HOR should have passed the bill on third reading and submitted it to the Senate before the originally agreed date of the break October 17 which is the legislative calendar agreed by both Houses.

“October 17 is a month away from November 17,” the Senate President said.

Sotto said he accepted Cayetano’s apologies as the latter vowed to submit the bill by November 5.

“Yes, he called. He promised to submit by November 5 their proposed copies of the different budget books, therefore the GAB, which they will approve on third reading. I said that will help us, especially our Finance Chairman,” he said.

“Accepted and I said we will do our best to work on the time we have as the Senate always does,” he added. 

The Lower House failed to pass their version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB)l on final reading after Cayetano moved to terminate the period of interpellation for it thus suspending session to November 16.

But this, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, should not be a reason for the delay in its passage.

“Hindi naman po requirement na dapat matapos ng House bago makagalaw ang Senado, [It is not a requirement that the House must finish first before the Senate can move],” he said.

“Ang requirement lang ng Saligang Batas, it must originate from the House and dahil naipasa na nga po sa second reading, iyan po ay pruweba na nag-originate na po yan sa House. Puwede po ang full-blown deliberation maski po naka-break ang Kongreso, [What the law requires is, it must originate from the House. Because it passed on second reading, that proves that it originated from the House. A full-blown deliberation is possible even if Congress is on break],” Roque, a former member of the Congress, said. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado / Rosalie Coz)


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