Know: Personalities who are likely to join Presidential Race in 2022

Maris Federez   •   June 27, 2019   •   8529

It’s still three years before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends, and yet, this early, several names are already floating to likely run in the presidential race in 2022.

Among the list is Senator Cynthia Villar who also topped the senatorial elections this year.

Even President Duterte had, at one point, mentioned supporting the Villars in case anyone of them decides to run in 2022.

“One of the factors kung bakit ako pumayag, si Speaker (Manny Villar). Kaya kung may presidente na suportahan ko, si Speaker [one of the factors is Speaker (Manny Villar). If there is anyone I will support for presidency, it’s the Speaker],” said the President.

Senator Villar thanked the President for his trust. She, however, maintained that it is still too early to announce any decision regarding the 2022 elections.

“We thank President Duterte for his trust and confidence. Manny and I think 2022 is so far away and we are just focusing our efforts in reelecting me as senator in 2019,” Villar said.

On the other hand, the name of Senate President Vicente Sotto III was also mentioned by President Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address in 2016.

President Duterte said Sotto can become the president once Federalism is approved in Congress and the need for the new president arose.

Another name floating is that of Senator Panfilo Lacson, who had recently denied in his Twitter post that he is already posturing for the 2022 elections.

This came about when the senator had been actively giving his opinions on issues on his social media account.

Read: Lacson tells critics: I’m not posturing for 2022 polls

Lacson ran but lost in 2004 Presidential race. He, however, said he is not closing any doors for the possibility of running for the said position again.

Senator Richard Gordon has also been alluded to by the President in his 2017 SONA as the country’s potential top leader.

Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, is also not brushing off the possibility of aiming for the highest position in the government.

She was quick to add, however, that this is not something that one plans, believing it as part of destiny.

Even presidential daughter Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio is also being seen as the one who will follow her father’s footsteps. 

She said, however, that this matter is not in her mind yet as she is focusing on her job as the chief executive of Davao City. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Duterte to deliver public address on April 12, Roque says

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his public address on Monday (April 12), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. confirmed.

In a text message to reporters on Saturday (April 10), the Palace official said the President will push through with his weekly public address on Monday.

Duterte skipped his public address last week after several members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tested positive for the COVID-19. Due to his several days of absence, speculations have surfaced questioning the state of the President’s health.

However, several officials, already assured that Duterte is of good health and will deliver his public address on Monday.

Meanwhile, Roque said he was admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. AAC

Senate probe on alleged ‘tongpats’ scheme in pork importation pushed

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson is pushing for a Senate investigation into the activities of an alleged syndicate within the Department of Agriculture (DA) that stands to gain billions of pesos in ‘tongpats’ or kickback scheme from the agency’s proposal to lower tariff rates on and to increase the volume of imported pork products due to the impact of the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lacson said the alleged anomalies amount to a “triple whammy” as they not only threaten the local hog industry but raise health concerns and cost the government forgone revenues, as well.

“We should unmask who is/are behind this scheme no matter how powerful and influential he may be with this administration,” Lacson said in a radio interview.

“I want to see even a whiff of enthusiasm from the President to order the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and other concerned agencies to investigate, not to mention heed the call of the Senate to disapprove the DA’s recommendation to reduce the tariff and increase the volume of pork importation. Let’s see,” he added.

The senator said he already talked to Senate President Vicente Sotto III for the conduct of a Senate inquiry into the alleged anomaly and to get the documents related to the issue.

“So far, we have received documents from the Bureau of Customs and DA. Still, we need more data to get to the bottom of the anomaly,” he added.

Lacson, during Monday’s Senate session, revealed that there have been reports of certain individuals within the DA imposing a kickback scheme amounting to P5 to P7 for every kilo of imported pork.

With DA’s proposal to increase the maximum volume of imported meat from 54,000 to 400,000, the syndicate could easily earn as much as P6 billion a year, he said.

The senator said this practice has been going on for several years now. Citing as an example, he said that between June and October 2018, imported pork from banned countries due to the ASF like Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and China flooded the local market which prompted the issuance of a memorandum order by then DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

Lacson said DA Secretary William Dar should know or at least have heard of this supposed issue within his department, particularly in the MAV Management Committee, headed by Acting Undersecretary William Medrano and composed of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) – along with the “SOPs” in the allocation of quota to favored importers and the issuance of the Phyto-Sanitary Import Clearance (PSIC).

The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of calamity in the country due to the threat of ASF.

The same resolution also expressed the sense of the upper chamber to persuade Duterte to disapprove the DA recommendation.

Lacson called on the PACC to look into the alleged ‘tongpats’ scheme in the DA.

“Gusto kong manawagan sa PACC to conduct a motu proprio investigation to find out kung totoo ba na at current tariff rates ang sa volume 54,000 metric tons, kung may P5-7 tong-pats per kilo, dapat alamin natin ito. Kaya siguro nagpipilit na ibaba ang tariff at itaas ang volume. Kasi katakot-takot ang balak kitain ng mga sangkot,” he said.

SC junks petition vs PH withdrawal from ICC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (March 16) unanimously junked petitions against the Philippines ‘ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The high court said the issue of the country’s withdrawal from the ICC  has been considered moot as the withdrawal has already taken effect on March 17, 2019.

“In a unanimous decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, the Supreme Court dismissed the Petition questioning the unilateral withdrawal for being moot and academic,” the SC said in a briefer released on Tuesday (March 16).

The statement released by the SC public information office says the decision acknowledged that the President, as the primary architect of foreign policy, is subject to the Constitution and existing statute.

Therefore, the power of the President to withdraw unilaterally can be limited by the conditions for concurrence by the Senate or when there is an existing law that authorizes the negotiation of a treaty or international agreement or when there is a statute that implements an existing treaty,” it added.

Two petitions were filed against President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the ICC, stating the decision still requires concurrence from two-thirds of the members of the Senate.

“The Court also noted that the judiciary has enough powers to protect human rights contrary to speculations raised by the petitioners,” the briefer reads.

Duterte made the announcement in March 2018, after the ICC announced it will conduct a preliminary investigation on the government’s war on drugs. -AAC

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