House leaders concede on Duterte’s call to abolish Road Board

Marje Pelayo   •   December 24, 2018   •   1728

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

PASAY CITY, Philippines – House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said the House of Representatives will heed to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to abolish the Road Board due to allegations of corruptions surrounding the agency.

“The President has spoken. We heard his message to the House. We will act based on his guidance. As an institution, we will heed the President’s call,” Andaya said in a statement.

Andaya earlier claimed that he had talked to the President who allegedly agreed to maintain the board and release the road users’ tax.

Also, Andaya alleged that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno were ‘out of touch’ for saying that the President wanted the Road Board abolished.

But on Friday (December 21), President Duterte clarified his position on the issue and said he supports the Senate on abolishing the graft-ridden agency.

“And I had a talk with president Arroyo and apparently there was a misunderstanding because all along I really wanted to abolish the road tax. And Andaya says now that I — was one of those who said that it should be maintained. No, nagkamali sila doon. My feelings about that board is — was at the strongest against its being there. Kasi walang ginawa ‘yan kung hindi ma-corrupt,” the President said during the Change of Command Ceremony at the Philippine Air Force base in Pasay City.

The Road Board is the agency tasked to manage the road users’ tax known as the ‘motor vehicle user’s charge’ (MVUC) which funds road repairs and maintenance works. It has made headlines for allegedly serving as “cash cow” to corrupt government officials that’s why the President wants it abolished.

The Senate has adopted and approved the HOR’s version of the proposal to abolish the Road Board.

Both Houses of Congress passed the bill during the Speakership of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

The Lower House, however, rescinded its approval on the bill when Speaker Gloria Arroyo took over.

With the decision coming from the President, Andaya said the Lower House can now “concentrate on the scrutiny of the 2018 budget, parked pork and P75-billion DBM insertions.”

Andaya said, however, that the House will support the abolition if the tax from the MVUC will become part of the annual budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as line-item fund in the General Appropriations Act.

He also insists that “non-road user activities” such as garbage collection be removed from the spending menu.

Andaya assured that: “If the President will send a better bill and certify it as urgent, the House, convinced of its merits, will approve it without delay.” – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

No PNP Chief yet? Duterte threatens to take over

Marje Pelayo   •   November 29, 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and former National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde (R) during the 117th Philippine National Police (PNP) police service anniversary in Quezon city, Philippines, 08 August 2018. EPA-EFE/STR

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has not decided yet as to who will assume the position vacated by former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, retired General Oscar Albayalde.

The President said he is carefully assessing the credentials of potential candidates to head the country’s main law enforcement arm.

Without an honest, corruption-free man to assume the job, the Chief Executive hinted on taking over the PNP.

“Ang akin, (for me) if they have even a single case of corruption, wala na, (it’s a no), you’re out,” the President warned.

“I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. Ako na ang hahawak noon (I will take over). I will be the one directing the guidance and direction,” he added.

The President previously said he wants to be conscientious in choosing the next chief of the national police following controversies that tainted the credibility of Albayalde in relation to his alleged involvement with the so-called ninja cops or drug recycling issue that compelled him to resign.

President Duterte acknowledged, meanwhile, that there are a lot of things within the PNP that needs improvement and overhaul.

“But verily itong pulis maraming problema, pati generals nila kasali sa droga (Verily I say these policemen are the problems themselves, even their generals are involved in drugs),” the Chief Executive noted.

“Iyan ang ayaw ko diyan, pati generals. Hindi lumabas iyan hanggang hindi ako naging president (That’s what I hate, that even the generals [are involved]. Not until I became president that this was exposed),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte says he ordered dismissal of 3 cops in body camera extortion case

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 21, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (November 20) said that he ordered the dismissal of three police officers involved in the body camera extortion case.

The three police officers were allegedly involved in extorting around P5 million from a bidder of body cameras.

“In the police, I—the three majors were working on a body camera and they were arguing because maybe of—because of money. What else? Because of corruption. And so I said, ‘Fire them, dismiss them,'” he said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa identified the police officers as Police Major Emerson Sales, Police Major Rholly Caraggayan and Police Major Angel Beros. 

Gamboa also said that he will sign the dismissal papers by Monday (November 25).—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders ban on vapes, EO to follow

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a ban on sale, importation and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who would be caught vaping in all public places across the country.

The President is convinced that vaping poses more harm to people than smoking ordinary cigarettes.

“Vaping is also dangerous and I am banning it, and if you are smoking now, you will be arrested,” he announced during the press briefing on Tuesday (November 19) in Malacañang.

“I am banning the importation. Customs, you listen to it. I’m banning it altogether,” he added.

The President said he will issue an executive order to formalize his directive.

The Chief Executive’s announcement came after a recent report of the first e-cigarette vaping-associated lung injury (e-VALI) in the country.

“I have that urgent power to do it, so I’m ordering it,” he said.

“The EO will follow. I’m banning it because it’s contrary to public safety,” the President concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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