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House Speakership hit for ‘railroading’ Cha-Cha; Senate closes doors due to lack of time

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 6 December 2018 12:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines – After only three session days, the Lower House of Congress passed on 2nd reading the proposed charter change on Tuesday, (December 4).

Makabayan congressmen hit the House leadership for ‘railroading’ the measure as they were not given time to speak and debate on the provisions of the bill.

This edifies the thought, according to the ACT Teachers Party list Rep. Antonio Tinio, that the measure is for the good of no less than House Speaker Gloria Arroyo.

“Ang tunay na laman at layunin ito ay (unlimited) political dynasties, unli-term para sa mga politiko, unli-matrial law kasi binabaan na nila ang criteria para makapagdeklara ng martial law. At unli-foreign plunder dahil binubuksan ang ekonomiya at lupain at public utility sa 100% foreign ownership,” Tinio argued.

“Magdahan-dahan tayo. There’s absolutely no reason to rush this very important measure that will impact all of us,” said Senior Minority Leader and Buhay Party list Rep. Lito Atienza adding that the bill still needs a ‘very thorough’ study  and that such a crucial measure is ‘impossible to discuss in just a few sessions.”

But Arroyo was quick to deny the allegations.

“You know that I did not participate in the debate because I have always said that my only contribution there is the mechanism for setting up the federal state. The others are all contribution of other congressmen. They should answer themselves,” she countered.

Among the controversial provisions of the bill include the removal of term limit among congressmen and anti-political dynasty. It also pushes for the adoption of the two-party system in the country.

Likewise, the bill will give the President the privilege to choose his own vice president. Both officials will be given a four-year term each and the opportunity for reelection. A college degree will also be required of all candidates prior to election.

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairperson, Vicente Veloso said the Lower House is set to pass on third and final reading the charter change measure.

The Lower House version requires a separate voting for the amended constitution. To approve the measure, the Senate needs a total of 18 votes while the House of Representatives will require at least 219 votes to proceed with the plebiscite.

However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it is highly impossible for the senators to deliberate on charter change due to lack of time.

“Wala kaming time para itake-up. Sana inapura nila ang budget para pwede namin itake-up iyan,” Sotto said.

Even Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon agreed with Sotto and said the measure is already “dead on arrival” in Senate.

But Veloso is not buying their reasons for holding off deliberations.

“Kung ayaw ninyo, sabihin ninyo kung ano ang ayaw ninyo. Hindi iyong sasabihin ninyo agad ‘dead on arrival.’ Bakit sino ba kayo? You are only one half of Congress,” he said referring to the senators. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Senate leadership supports call for Duterte to veto ‘pork insertions’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 6 February 2019 05:52 PM

FILE PHOTO: Senate President Vicente Sotto III

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Lawmakers are racing against time to finally pass the P3.7 trillion proposed 2019 national budget as they have until Friday (February 8) to extend session and to finalize the provisions of the bill.

House Committee on Appropriations Chair Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said the proposed budget may possibly reach the table of President Rodrigo Duterte for signature by next week.

The senators will hold a caucus on Wednesday night to discuss the outcome of discussions at the ongoing bicameral conference committee especially on matters involving the alleged ‘pork insertions’ in the proposed budget.

Once everything is clear, the bill will likely proceed to ratification.

For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he is likely to support the position of Senator Panfilo Lacson who is calling on President Duterte to veto the alleged ‘pork insertions’ in the bill, if necessary.

“Kung nararapat at kung talagang maliwanag na pork, bakit hindi? Dapat i-veto,” Sotto said.

Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, said the passage of the proposed national budget remains their top priority at this point.

Angara argued that unless the proposed budget is passed, the government will have no choice but to operate with a reenacted budget until July.

“Walang defined item for 2019. Maybe if there are savings in agencies, then they will use that, or there are funds na, unprogrammed funds, hindi natuloy ang project, doon nila kukunin ang pondo,” Angara explained.

Under a reenacted budget, all pending projects of the government for this year will definitely be affected.

Among them is the preparation for the upcoming 2019 midterm elections, specifically the lack of funds for honoraria for teachers who will serve as election officers in the polls. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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GIS EXCLUSIVE: Atty. Larry Gadon wants lower energy rate, free books for students if elected

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 4 February 2019 03:49 PM

Atty. Lorenzo ‘Larry’ Gadon on the set of Get it Straight with Daniel Razon

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Senatorial candidate Atty. Lorenzo ‘Larry’ Gadon wants to focus on lowering the price of electricity if elected to the Senate in the 2019 midterm polls.

On the program Get It Straight will Daniel Razon, Gadon said he wants the government to take control of the country’s energy industry to prevent the private sector from manipulating it.

“Dapat magtayo muli ang estado, ang ating bansa, ng mga facility o ng mga sources ng energy ng direktang pamamahalaan ng gobyerno,” he said.

Gadon also intends to introduce reforms in the country’s education system.

He argued that free tuition is not enough and that the government should provide the books and manuals to students free of charge.

The printing, Gadon said, should also be managed by the government instead of private publishing companies.

“Magkano lang naman siguro ang mga books na ipiprint mo dyan. Baka hindi pa umabot ng mga P2B iyan para iprint mo yung libreng libro para sa mga estudyante,” he said.

Gadon supports the administration in various issues such as the extension of martial law in Mindanao, the revival of death penalty, and the proposed shift to federal form of government.

The lawyer is confident that he will win in the upcoming election.

Gadon has been vocal about his opposition to election surveys, saying such polls are being used to condition the minds of the public that only popular candidates can be elected.

“Iba kasi ang lumapit sa iyo at nagsasabing kusa na iboboto ka namin kesa ikaw ang pupunta sa tao magpapgawa ka ng rally at tapos sasabihin nyo na iboto nyo ko. Hindi. Ito baligtad. Sila yung lumalapit para sabihin nila sa akin na iboboto nila ako,” Gadon said.

Gadon made it to country’s headlines when he spearheaded the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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GIS EXCLUSIVE: Atty. Erin Tañada to espouse workers’ pay, lower power rate if elected

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 30 January 2019 02:07 PM

Former House Deputy Speaker Atty. Lorenzo ‘Erin’ Tañada III

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Former House Deputy Speaker Atty. Lorenzo ‘Erin’ Tañada III is eyeing measures that will ease the burden of common Filipinos if re-elected to public office.

On the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, the former lawmaker said he wants to push for minimum wage hike for workers in different regions across the country.

He argued that there is actually minimal or no difference between the price of basic commodities in the rural areas and in the metropolis.

In fact in most cases, the prices of basic goods are higher in the countryside than in the national capital region (NCR) because of higher transportation cost.

According to Tañada, it is only right for regional workers to enjoy the same benefits accorded to NCR workers.

In such situation, he added, urban migration and overpopulation in Metro Manila would also be prevented.

“Makatarungan pa ba ang paggamit ng regional wage boards sa pagtatakda ng minimum wage? Panahon nang pagusapan iyan,” the scion of the famous Tañada clan said.

Tañada is also eyeing a review of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of. 2001 also known as EPIRA Law.

He claims that the measure failed to lower electricity rate in the past 18 years since its enactment.

Instead, he said, businessmen will be more attracted to invest in the country with lower power rates.

“Sa iba’t ibang probinsya, mas mahal ang singil ng kuryente kaysa sa Metro Manila,” he said.

Tañada’s first attempt at a seat in Senate was in 2013, but he was booted out of the Liberal Party’s senatorial slate because then President Benigno Aquino III did not favor his Freedom of Information Bill.

“Na-short list naman ako. Kung titingnan natin mayroon siyang hindi nagustuhan sa aking pag-advocate ng isang panukalang batas,” he explained referring to former President Noynoy Aquino.

Tañada said he was offered to change camp and join then Vice President Jejomar Binay’s line up but he declined.

Tañada has been vocal of his commitment to the Liberal Party as he vows to continue the legacy of his father, the esteemed statesman former senator Wigberto “Bobby” Tañada.

A veteran human rights lawyer. Erin is known for his landmark legislations such as the creation of the Human Rights Claims Board for the victims of Martial law and other important bills such as the Freedom of Expression and the utilization of the Coco Levy Fund. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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