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House Minority squabble heads to SC

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

(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

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SC permanently bans cutting of trees in Baguio City

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019

Kennon Road in Baguio City

The Supreme Court has released its decision on Wednesday (April 10) to make permanent the temporary restraining order it issued on March 24, 2015 that restricted the cutting of trees along Luneta Hill for the expansion of a mall in the city.

“The permanent status of the temporary restraining order is without prejudice to the filing of an application of environmental compliance certificate in accordance with existing laws and regulations,” said SC Public Information Office Chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka.

The petitioners against the cutting of the trees in the city, however, were not satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the number of trees they were fighting for to save has now dwindled into half.

Glo Abaeo, former President of Cordillera Global Network said over a phone interview that it was a bittersweet victory for them, “because after 7 years ng ipinaglalaban namin, may magandang resulta pero ayun nga naputol na iyong karamihan ng kahoy doon. So from 182, na pinoprotesta namin noon I think 100 or more na yata ang naputol [because after 7 years that we have been fighting, we got good results, but still, many trees had been cut down. So from 182 that we are proresting (to be protected), I think 100 or more were cut down].”

Karlo Altomonte, Spokesperson of Save 182, on the other hand, said, “too late ang lumabas na desisyon. Pero napigilan sana natin yung panggagahasa sa kalikasan ng baguio kung umaksyion ang local government [the decision came too late. But we could have prevented the ravaging of the natural resources of Baguio (City) had the local government acted against it].”

In 2018, the Baguio City Local Government released the guidelines on issuing permits to business establishments about cutting trees.

The guidelines said exceptions on the ban to cut trees include trees that will put establishments and passers-by in danger, such as trees that have been rendered weak by infestation and trees that are already dead.  – Maris Federez (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Petition seeking wage increase for gov’t workers filed at SC

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2019

 House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr files a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to compel Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to implement the fourth tranche of salary increase for government workers.

MANILA, Philippines – House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. filed a petition at the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday (January 14) asking the high tribunal to order Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to implement the fourth tranche of salary increase for government workers.

“Huwag niyang gagawing dahilan ang reenacted budget dahil mayroon namang mga alituntunin na nakapaloob sa kaniyang departamento na para ibigay ito,” Andaya said.

“Nakakahiya naman na iyong bayad sa daang bilyong utang natin nababayaran natin kahit walang bagong budget. Ito pa kayang katiting lang,” he added.

According to Andaya, the P40 billion needed fund can be spliced from the P75 billion miscellaneous personnel benefits fund (MPBF).

Meanwhile, Diokno welcomed Andaya’s petition.

He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is preparing its comments on the filed petition.

However, Diokno insisted that the reason for the delay in the salary increase was mainly because of the delays in the passage of the 2019 national budget.

“We welcome the petition of mandamus filed by Rep. Andaya at the Supreme Court, so that this issue will be settled once and for all,” Diokno said.

“Mayroon pong tinatawag na diskresyon o constitutional prerogative ang Kongreso kung kailan niya ipapasa ang budget. Hindi po iyan sa dikta ni Sec. Diokno pero siya meron siyang legal duty. Wala siyang diskresyon,” Andaya argued. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Imelda Marcos to appeal Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict to SC

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Imelda Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – Former first lady now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos is determined to bring Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict to the Supreme Court (SC).

Marcos said they have already advised Sandiganbayan Fifth Division of her plan and have request the anti-graft court to send her records to the SC.

In November 9, the Sandiganbayan sentenced Marcos of up to 13 years in jail for each count of graft but she was set free after the anti-graft court allowed her bail amounting to P150,000. – UNTV News and Rescue

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