Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2019   •   1278

(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: Duterte is now in the ‘green of health’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019

Malacañang has announced that President Rodrigo Duterte is experiencing sickness due to old age and is now in the “green of health”, not pink.

On Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president, who is now 74 years old, is “not normal” when it comes to his health.

“Hindi siya normal kasi nga, ang dami niyang nararamdaman. Kumbaga, kung sinabi ko noon na (He is not normal because he has a lot of illnesses. It’s like, if I said then) he was ‘in the pink of health’, ngayon (now) I think he is now ‘in the green of health’,” he said.

However, Panelo said despite these illnesses, Duterte continues to do his duties as the chief executive.

“If you will notice, kahit na ganyan siya, may nararamdaman, iyong kaniyang schedule ganoon pa rin, hindi pa rin nagbago (Even if he is experiencing illnesses [due to old age] his schedule remain unchanged), not only does he survive but he does it well,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace warns Robredo against ‘revealing state secrets’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019

Malacañang has reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that Vice President Leni Robredo could be removed as the co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she reveals sensitive information about the drug war to foreign individuals and entities.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said revealing state secrets would be damaging to Filipino people.

“Not to mention that under Article 229 of the Revised Penal Code, such revelation of privileged information is a crime which has perpetual special disqualification from office, among its penalties,” he added.

Panelo said the president’s warning came when the vice president previously requested access to all data and documents relating to the government’s war on drugs.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte doesn’t want to rest despite doctor’s advice – Bong Go

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t want to heed his doctor’s advice to take a rest, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Wednesday.

Go, a former top aide of Duterte, said the president prefers to continue working and performing his official duties while he is staying in his hometown in Davao City.

“Sa totoo lang, ayaw magpahinga ng Pangulo, kahit sabihin mong he was advised by the doctor to rest,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

“Hindi po siya makatagal sa bahay at talagang gusto niyang magtrabaho at gumala,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday said the chief executive would go on a three-day break but later said he would just work from home in Davao City.

The Palace previously said the president’s doctor had advised him to limit his physical activity after he complained of “unbearable” pain in his spine following a minor motorcycle accident within the Malacañang complex on Oct. 16.

Duterte was in Japan to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony when he complained of spinal ache and had to cut his trip short. After consultation with his doctor, Panelo said the president experienced a muscle spasm.

Go assured that Duterte is in good shape, adding that the chief executive is set to visit North Cotabato on Friday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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