Duterte: I don’t want to interfere in House affairs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2019   •   944

President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that he does not want to interfere with the affairs of the legislative branch but had to step in to end the impasse on the House Speakership.

“Nobody was sure to vote for whom, and they kept on asking who is the president’s candidate. So I shied away and said, no, if you can resolve the matter comfortably between you, do it,” he said. “I hate to intrude. But apparently, considering what happened in the last few days, and malapit na ang session (the opening of session is already near), I said… it’s time for me to talk.”

Duterte announced term-sharing between Taguig City representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque representative Lord Allan Velasco as House speakers.

The chief executive made the announcement on Monday (July 9) during the oath-taking of new presidential appointees.

“Your Speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano. He shares the term with Lord Velasco,” he said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, Cayetano will lead the House for the first 15 months, while Velasco will take over in the next 21 months.

“[In] the next 21 months, the Speaker will be Lord Allan Velasco, with Martin Romualdez as the majority leader,” he said.—AAC

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)

Term-sharing with Rep. Velasco, not an issue – HS Cayetano

Maris Federez   •   November 14, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Velasco

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano insists that the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the leadership in the lower chamber of Congress must be respected.

This is why, as far as Cayetano is concerned, the term-sharing in the House Speakership is no longer an issue between him and Marinduque Representatives Lord Alan Velasco despite the suggestions of some members of the Lower House to extend his term which is until December 2020.

“Hindi naman kasi kailangan pag usapan eh. So, we say hi to each other and that’s it, ‘di ba? In fact, halos wala akong congressman na nakakausap na ang pinag-uusapan speaskership. Trabaho. Once in a while meron papasyal sa office ko, ‘speaker sana hindi ka na mapalitan.’ Pero standard pa rin ‘itong answer ko, hindi kita kokontrahin, tutukan natin iyong trabaho,” said Cayetano.

The immediate passage of the 2020 national budget in the House of Representatives (HOR) and his high trust and approval ratings are reportedly what prompted some congressmen to push for Cayetano’s term extension.

Per agreement, Cayetano will be the House Speaker for 15 months and, after that, Velasco will have his term in the succeeding 21 months.

President Duterte has earlier said that he will no longer meddle with the issue and it’s up to the members of the House to decide on what’s to become of the term-sharing deal.

Cayetano, however, insists that Velasco has nothing to worry about because it is the President’s word that they both are holding on to.

“No one can take over with just saying ikaw na next kasi wala namang vice speaker eh. So as I said, it’s very unproductive and very speculative to talk about 18 to 15 months from now,” Cayetano insisted.

Despite Cayetano’s pronouncement, the members of the lower chamber are set to vote for the next House Speaker. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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