Duterte Cabinet to let go of 6 members for 2019 midterm polls

Marje Pelayo   •   October 3, 2018   •   2895

MANILA, Philippines – Six members of the Duterte Cabinet are eyeing the elections in 2019.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, three of the six are planning to run for the Senate while the other three are eyeing local positions in the May 2019 midterm polls.

The filing of the certificate of candidacy will officially open on October 11.

“In so far as they are… not just three from my last count, there would be around six who might file their certificate of candidacy for national and local posts,” Roque said.

The President by then is expected to fill the vacant positions.

Among the Cabinet members rumored to be running for Senator in the 2019 midterm election are Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Political Adviser Francis Tolentino and Secretary Roque.

Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco is said to have plans of running  for  governor of Bohol while TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong, Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs Abdullah Mama-o and Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Nicanor Faeldon will seek election for local posts. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Source: Minor revamp looms in Duterte Cabinet

Robie de Guzman   •   June 25, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 38th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on June 10, 2019. Courtesy PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – A minor reshuffle is expected to take place soon in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte, a highly placed source said on Monday.

The source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to divulge this information to media, said Duterte is mulling over moving some officials amid ongoing evaluation of all departments’ performances.

The source said the revamp may include Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, who may be transferred to the Mindanao Development Authority.

The President may announce the possible Cabinet revamp next month, the source said. (with details from Grace Casin)

Comelec sees rise in vote buying incidents ahead of May polls

Marje Pelayo   •   May 3, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is all set for the upcoming May 13 midterm polls.

However, the agency fears of a possible rise in cases of vote buying especially in the local level.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez noted that even days prior to the elections, they have been receiving reports of vote buying using cash, grocery items and many other valuables from candidates to lure voters.

As always, the poll body advises the public to be wise in choosing their candidates.

“COMELEC has always said do not take the money at all,” Director Jimenez said.

“We believe that you should just say no to the bribe to the vote buying attempt and just vote according to your conscience,” he added.

Comelec, however, admits that guarding against vote buying is a huge challenge that’s why the agency is encouraging the public to report any incident of violations of the election law.

Meanwhile, election officers are doubling their efforts to prepare all election paraphernalia before the midterm polls in May.

Generator sets are already stationed in polling places across the country to serve as back-up source of electricity in any event of power interruptions or outages during the election process.

The poll body is also continuously conducting voter education programs to prepare the voters. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Aiko Miguel)

2 Cabinet members under probe over corruption – PACC

Marje Pelayo   •   January 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Two members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet are now under probe by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

According to PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna, they have been investigating Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Director General Isidro Lapeña of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) since 2018.

“Nagkaroon na kami ng fact-finding sa DOLE tapos magnetic lifters. Although si Lapeña, cleared na ng Senate, kami, hindi pa kami ready to say so kasi hindi pa nga tapos,” Luna confirmed.

Lapeña was tagged in the billion-peso shabu shipment concealed inside large magnetic lifters.

Bello on the other hand was bombarded with criticisms for allegedly accepting bribe from a recruitment agency and from a businesswoman.

But the Palace assured that President Duterte will definitely act on the matter once the investigation of the PACC is over and the result of the probe is submitted to him.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reiterated that there is no ‘palakasan’ or ‘padrino’ system in the Duterte administration.

“You must remember that the President’s policy ever since there are no sacred cows in this administration, you violate the law regardless of your status whether you’re a friend or ally or political adversary, or a relative, a friend or a fraternity brother. wala lahat yun. You violate the law, you are accountable,” Panelo said.

Secretary Bello, for his part, maintained that there is no truth in the allegations being thrown against him.

“Wala naman akong alam na katiwalian na involved ako,” he said.

Lapeña, meanwhile, is yet to respond to the issue.

The TESDA administration was cleared by Senate in the shabu shipment probe and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) did not include him in the list of persons charged for the billion-peso drug scandal. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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