Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2019   •   1172

(L-R) Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Velasco

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced that his bet for the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress is Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, who will share the term with Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Duterte made the announcement after the three speakership candidates sought the assistance of the President to settle the conflict among them.

The chief executive earlier distanced himself from the speakership race, but leading candidates for the post and other solons persistently asked him to pick his bet.

“Since the election of the Speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the break-up of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates,” Panelo said in a statement.

The Palace official said it was decided that Cayetano would serve as speaker first, to be succeeded by Velasco.

“It’s Allan Cayetano as the Speaker in the first 15 months, then the next 21 months, the Speaker will be Lord Allan Velasco,” Panelo said.

The president also said that Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez will serve as the House Majority Floor Leader.

Velasco’s bid for the top House position was endorsed by the president’s political party, PDP-Laban.

The issue on term-sharing was first brought up by Cayetano, who claimed this set up was suggested and approved by Duterte himself when he met with speaker aspirants during a recent trip in Japan.

However, Velasco denied agreeing to such a deal, saying this would weaken the speakership itself and slow down the work at the lower chamber.

READ: Velasco denies agreeing to House speakership term-sharing deal with Cayetano

Romualdez also rejected the idea of term-sharing for the same reasons.

Panelo said Velasco and Romualdez have agreed to respect the president’s decision on the matter.

House members are set to elect the next Speaker when the session of the 18th Congress officially opens in the morning of July 22, the same day when Duterte will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address.

Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

Palace: Duterte in good health, went motorcycle-riding over the weekend

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

File: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday assured that President Rodrigo Duterte is in good health despite being out of the public eye for more than a week now.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement amid concerns on Duterte’s health and absence in the past week.

He added that Duterte even went for a motorcycle ride in Davao City over the weekend.

“In fact, he shared to me yesterday, sabi nya, ‘Alam mo ba na I went out sa motorsiklo?’ Nag motorsiklo daw siya sa subdivision niya. Hindi ko na alam kung kahapon yun o the day before,” he said.

“It only shows na kung nakaka-motor siya, he’s in good health,” he added.

Duterte was last seen in public on August 9 when he attended a police event in Camp Crame in Quezon City.  

Panelo said that when not attending any public engagement, the chief executive deals with paperwork and private meetings.

“Ang sabi niya, marami siyang trabaho na mga papeles, binabasa niya isa-isa. Hindi siya makapirma ng hindi niya thoroughly reading these papers,” Panelo said.

“At the same time, meron siyang mga private meetings and courtesy call,” he added.

The president’s health has been a recurring issue given his age.

At 74, Duterte is the oldest to be elected Philippine president in history.

He previously revealed he was suffering from Barret’s esophagus or medically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as perpetual pain due to a spine injury and constipation. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte won’t interfere in Cardema-Guanzon row – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

File: President Rodrigo Duterte (PCOO)

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday said that President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the row between Duterte Youth Party-list nominee Ronald Cardema and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Rowena Guanzon.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Cardema and Guanzon’s feud is between the two of them.

He added that the president will not meddle in the issue as he respects the independence of Comelec and other constitutional bodies.

“The case between Mr. Cardema and Commissioner Guanzon, I think it’s between the two of them,” he said.

“Moreover, the President respects the independence of any constitutional body. The President has not and will not interfere on any function of the Commission as well as other constitutional bodies,” he added.

Guanzon has been vocal about her opposition to Cardema’s nomination as the Duterte Youth Party-list representative and accused the latter as the one behind the threats against her.

Cardema, in turn, accused Guanzon of extortion, which she denied.

The Commissioner also dared the former to file an impeachment case against her.

READ: Comelec 1st division cancels Cardema’s nomination as Duterte Youth party rep

The feud between the two follows the decision of the poll body’s first division to cancel Cardema’s nomination as representative of the Duterte Youth party because the law states that youth representatives must be from 25 to 30 years old.

Instead of having word war, Panelo advised Cardema to file an appropriate complaint against Guanzon to settle the issue. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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