Duterte not endorsing anyone for House Speaker; lets congressmen decide
Marje Pelayo • June 26, 2019 • 615
MANILA, Philippines – The race for the next speaker of the House of Representatives (HOR) gets more intense less than a month before the 18th Congress formally opens.
Government allies have been waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to make a decision on who he thinks the next speaker should be who could help him push his administration’s legislative agenda.
During the oath taking ceremony at Malacañang on Tuesday (June 25), President Duterte asked newly elected congressmen to give him until June 28 to make a decision.
However, the President seems to prefer not to endorse anyone for the speakership post.
In his speech, President Duterte said he asked House Speaker Gloria Arroyo to choose her own successor.
The conversation, he said, happened during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s thanksgiving party.
The President said he asked Arroyo to spare him the burden of having to choose among his friends who were vying for the post.
“Sabi ko, ikaw na ang mamili ng speaker, (I told [Arroyo] to choose a speaker for me),” the President said.
“Tinawag ko si Cayetano, Alvarez, si Velasco, si Bebot na hindi naman lumapit. ‘Mamili ka na, ma’am,’ sabi ko, ‘hindi ako nagbobolahan.'”
(I called Cayetano, Alvarez, Velasco and Bebot. I told her, “You choose, ma’am. I am not joking.”)
“‘I will ask a favor from you [Arroyo]. Huwag mo na akong bigyan ng sakit ng loob (Don’t make it hard for me) because they are all my friends. I do not want to hurt anybody lalo na iyan. Ikaw na lang, tutal ikaw ang pinaka-senior dito, (I’ll let you do it, after all, you are the most senior here),” he added.
President Duterte did say that the incumbent Speaker refused to choose the next House leader for him.
He then told the congressmen to pick their leader themselves and make their decision.
“You have to decide. You can do it by party (or) affiliation. You can take out of Hugpong for the meantime because it’s just a foisted political party for the purpose of election,” the President said.
“Huwag na lang akong isali ninyo, (Just spare me),” he concluded.
President Rodrigo Duterte will be having a three-day break beginning Tuesday (November 12), according to Malacañang.
However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday (November 11) clarified that it will not be an official leave since the president will still be doing his paperwork. The president will fly home to Davao Monday night.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will be the officer-in-charge of the Executive branch while Duterte rests, according to Panelo
“Well upon the advice of friends, of colleagues, and the world, it seems. And most likely upon the advice of doctors also to take a respite from his punishing schedule,” he said.
Panelo clarified there are no medical concerns that prompted the three-day break.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is pushing for a review of the National Building Code after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday in parts of Mindanao (October 29).
“I think it’s about time that we take three drastic steps. Number one, to review the National Building Code,” he said.
House Bill 4008 or the Building Code of 2019 aims to repeal the Presidential Decree 1046 or the National Building Code of the country.
Under the proposed bill, there will be new building standards to reduce the risk of severe damage during calamities like earthquakes. Non-compliance with the said standards can also lead to criminal liability.
In a statement, House Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero said it is high time to change Presidential Decree 1046 because it was passed into law in 1977.
He also said there is poor compliance to the National Building Code.
“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” he said.
The House Bill 4008 will be one of the priority bills to be discussed in the House of Representatives once session resumes on November 4.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo chose not to react on the recent challenge set by President Rodrigo Duterte offering her the position of a drug czar and lead the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Duterte on Monday (October 28) publicly announced that he would surrender his law enforcement power to Robredo so she could prove herself by solving the country’s problems on illegal drugs in a span of six months.
Robredo said Duterte’s remarks could have been an outburst of emotions just like many times in the past.
“Ayokong mag-comment hanggat wala pa (I don’t want to comment while [the letter] isn’t here yet),” Robredo said.
“Natuto na ako. Marami ng beses in the past (na) mayroong sinasabi na hindi naman mini-mean. May imbitasyon na babawiin. So, hintayin muna natin,” she added.
(I have learned my lesson. There were many times in the past wherein he would say something but didn’t really mean it. He would send invitations which he would later take back. So, let’s wait for now.)
With these developments, opposition lawmaker Albay 1st Rep. Edcel Lagman alleged that the President is “washing his hands of his failed brutal war on drugs, and is tossing the narcotics problem for Vice President Leni Robredo to solve.”
Liberal Party senator Kiko Pangilinan, meanwhile, teased the President for giving Robredo only six months when he himself couldn’t arrest ‘big fishes’ in illegal drugs operation in the country.
“Six months? Sila nga tatlong taon nang nakaupo, wala pa ring nahuhuling drug lord or ikinukulong na opisyal ng BoC sa tone-toneladang pinalusot na shabu sa Customs,” Pangilinan argued.
(Six months? They themselves have been in power for three years and they have yet to arrest a drug lord or put in jail a Bureau of Customs official for the tons of shabu that slipped past customs.)
“Iyong mga ninja cops na sangkot sa iligal na droga binigyan pa ng pinakamataas na pwesto sa PNP. Hindi naman patas ang usapan kapag 6 months lang. Dapat maging patas. Gawing 3 years para fair,” he added.
(Those ninja cops implicated in illegal drugs trade were even promoted to higher positions in the PNP. The deal wouldn’t be fair with only six months. They should be fair. Give [Robredo] three years to be fair.)
Duterte ally House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, meanwhile, said if Robredo would accept the President’s challenge, she should present a concrete plan of action to do it.
“(What’s that) health-based approach (that they say) when it comes to enforcement and when it comes to methamphetamine?” Cayetano said of Robredo’s proposed strategy.
“Kung may baril ang kaharap mo na nagbebenta ng droga at nandoon sa school at hinuli ng pulis, anong gagawin ng pulis, sabihin, ‘Pare, mag vitamins ka muna? (If the person you are apprehending for selling drugs in school has a gun, what do you think the police should do? Should they tell him: Take some vitamins first?),” he added.
But for former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, it would be better for President Duterte to fully relinquish his presidency instead of just challenging Robredo.
“Why not just surrender the presidency by resigning,” the opposition lawyer said.
But despite the headlines, former chief of police now Senator Panfilo Lacson stressed that the President, being the top authority in the land, holds the highest power over the country’s law enforcement officials.
When asked if he believes the President’s intention was to annoy Robredo, Lacson said it wasn’t sarcasm “but more of an expression of irritation and disgust.”
He added that: “Unless he delegates a blanket authority, including the power to hire and fire, no one else in the government bureaucracy can do it better than the chief executive under any given circumstances.”
“At best, it’s half meant,” the senator concluded. – MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
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