House Minority squabble heads to SC

Marje Pelayo   •   August 8, 2018   •   2245

(L-R) ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera, House Minority leader Rep.Danilo Suarez,Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The battle for the minority in the House of Representatives is deemed far from over.

Following his controversial retention as House Minority leader, Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez is likely to face two complaints at the Supreme Court (SC).

Two other blocs contesting the minority leadership are the Liberal Party (LP)-Makabayan alliance led by Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo and the Alvarez-Fariñas group led by ABS Party-list Representative Eugene de Vera.

Quimbo said what the members of the majority did was unacceptable. He named the respondents to their complaint including House Speaker Gloria Arroyo, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya and Suarez for deliberately violating the House Rules.

 “We need to take it to the Supreme Court para may stability rin para sa House. Hindi ito katanggap-tanggap at nakakahiya para sa ating Kongreso na ang Minority leader ay ini-appoint ng majority,” Quinbo argued.

Meanwhile, Fariñas’ group is also preparing their own lawsuit but aside from Arroyo, Suarez, and Andaya, they also plan to charge Quimbo’s group.

“Our petition is very simple. It is certiorari, prohibition, madamus, quo warranto lahat na,” said the former majority leader.

 

No more check and balance

The Makabayan bloc fears that there will no longer be checks and balances in the Lower House under Suarez given that he himself was among those who first voted for Arroyo as Speaker of the House.

 “Kapag ang pumili at bumasbas sa minority ay majority, ano ang maaasahan natin dito? Hindi tunay na oposisyon sabi nga company union,” argued ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.

Suarez, in defense of his position, said his closeness to Arroyo doesn’t mean he will always agree or give in to the decision of the majority.

He assures the public that he will focus more on his job. Among his priorities include the rice tariffication, the proposed 2019 national budget and the blocking of the passage of TRAIN-2.

When asked to react to the looming cases against him, Suarez said he will just let his colleagues do what they want.

“We cannot stop them. Itong issue ng leadership ng minority itabi na natin. Tapos na itong isyu,” he concluded. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo

Malacañang keeps distance from SC decision lifting TRO on Mamasapano trial

Maris Federez   •   August 7, 2019

The Office of the President has distanced itself from the Supreme Court (SC) decision that lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the hearing of the case against former president Benigno Aquino III on the Mamasapano encounter.

Read: SC lifts TRO on Mamasapano trial at Sandiganbayan

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has refused to further comment on the issue as the palace would not want to be accused of meddling with the decision of the judiciary which is a co-equal branch of government.

“[W]e refuse to comment on the action undertaken by the Supreme Court, which belongs to a separate and independent branch of government from ours. We cannot and we do not intend to interfere with the functions of other branches which are distinct from the Executive,” Panelo said.

The palace, he added, would rather see the judicial process roll on its own accord.

“We will, as usual, let the law take its course,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Justice Zalameda takes oath as new SC magistrate

Maris Federez   •   August 6, 2019

New SC Justice Takes Oath. Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Rodil V. Zalameda takes his oath as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) before Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, while SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio looks on, at the SC En Banc Session Hall on August 6, 2019. (Caption by Jay B. Rempillo, Photo by Francisco S. Gutierrez/Supreme Court Website)

Court of Appeals (CA) justice Rodil Zalameda has taken his oath as the new member of the Supreme Court (SC) magistrates.

Zalameda replaced the newly-retired Justice Mariano del Castillo.

He was chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte over 5 other nominees, including Court Administrator Midas Marquez and CA Justice Japar Dimaampao.

He was appointed Court of Appeals associate justice in September 2008 and served as city prosecutor in Mandaluyong City prior to that.

Zalameda obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of the East and earned his law degree in 1987 at the Ateneo Law School.

He passed the bar exams in 1988. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

House minority eyes probe on alleged corruption in PCSO, Philhealth

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The minority bloc of the House of Representatives is calling for an investigation into the alleged corruption within the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).

Under House Resolution No. 141, Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Jr. urged the House Committee on Games and Amusement to conduct an inquiry into the closure of PCSO gaming outlets due to corruption allegations.

“Clearly, we have to get to the bottom of these charges of corruption and it is with this goal in mind that I filed House Resolution 141 directing the House Committee on Games and Amusements to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the closure of all PCSO outlets due to massive corruption,” Abante said in a press briefing.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the suspension of all PCSO gaming operations citing massive corruption in the agency. More than 20,000 PCSO outlets were shut down over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Duterte ordered the lifting of the ban on lotto games after investigators found no anomalies in the conduct of its operations. Lotto operations have resumed Wednesday.

READ: Duterte lifts suspension of lotto operations

However, other gaming schemes with franchises, licenses or permits granted by PCSO such as STL, keno and Peryahan ng Bayan shall remain suspended “pending the investigation of illegal activities and corrupt practices related thereto until the Office of the President evaluates the results of said probe.” 

Aside from PCSO anomalies, Abante is also eyeing to get into the bottom of the corruption claims against Philhealth following the issue on “ghost dialysis” scam, which is said to be anomalous Philhealth claims allegedly made by the WellMed Dialysis Center for already deceased patients. (with details from Grace Casin)

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