Lacson to file resolution seeking vote of confidence on SP Sotto

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019   •   2523

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson has drafted a resolution that aimed at assuring that Senate President Vicente Sotto III will keep his leadership in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

He said the idea came from Senator Manny Pacquiao.

“Actually, the idea was originally proposed by Sen Manny Pacquiao. The resolution to be routed is about a vote of confidence in the leadership of SP Sotto,” Lacson said.

He added that this move was prompted by the “insinuations made by Senators-elect Marcos and Tolentino for a leadership change for whatever motives they have — whether it’s posturing to get their desired committee chairmanships or serious attempts to elect a new Senate leader.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had also refused to further comment on the issue that floats the name of Senator Cynthia Villar in the Senate presidency.

“I won’t comment on the push for Senator Villar by the newly elected senators as I’m close to both Villar and Sotto. However, my last conversation with Tita Cynthia was that she was not interested. And, yes, I will sign the Manifesto for SP Sotto,” Zubiri said.

Villar had earlier on signified that she has no interest on the said position.

Read: Senate President Sotto still enjoys support of colleagues in 18th Congress

The minority, on the other hand, said they are not going to meddle on the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the selection of the Senate President is in the hands of the majority bloc. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Lacson, Sotto test negative for illegal drugs

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday (November 22) underwent voluntary drug testing at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) office in Diliman, Quezon City, and tested negative for drug use, a statement from the Partido Reporma said.

Earlier in the day, Sotto said: “Magkaalaman na kung sino matatapang”.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem said their move was to show that they are drug-free and fit to run in the 2022 national and local elections.

Sotto earlier said that ordinary drug tests only determine “shabu” or  “marijuana” use.

However, the PDEA test that they took, he said, is a ‘’multi-drug one-step immunometric assay for the detection of drugs of abuse in urine.’’

In the statement, Lacson said he and Sotto took a multi-drug screening procedure, which is capable of detecting all types of illegal substances in a human body. They both tested negative for illegal drugs.

The tandem went through all the protocols from the signing up of forms to the submission of their urine samples where an attending physician monitored them closely to ensure the authenticity of the tests.

Last Friday, Lacson suggested Friday conducting a random drug test to candidates following President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement on an unnamed presidential candidate who was into cocaine.

“I have never been addicted to drugs all my life, so I have no problem with that. In fact, we should all undergo random testing to make it more credible,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an ambush interview in General Santos City, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go who is also running for president, reiterated that, although it is not mandatory, he is willing to undergo drug testing any time of the day.

“Ako naman po willing magpa-drug test anytime of the day. Anytime po kung kakailanganin,” Go said.

“Though hindi mandatory, pero just to prove lang po sa Pilipino kung sino yung fit na mamuno sa ating bansa ay willing po akong magpa-drug test, any time of the day po,” he added. —/mbmf

Pacquiao, Go, willing to be tested amid claim that one presidential bet uses cocaine

Maris Federez   •   November 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senators Manny Pacquiao and Christopher ‘Bong’ Go said they are willing to undergo drug tests following President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that one presidential candidate was a cocaine user.

“We have a candidate using cocaine,” Duterte said during a speech held in Oriental Mindoro province.

“He is a very weak leader,” Duterte said about the unnamed candidate.

“He might win hands down. If that is what the Filipino wants, go ahead,” he added.

In a message sent to reporters, Pacquiao said undergoing drug testing among all government officials must be mandatory.

“Mandatory drug test must be required for anyone who wants to work in government, elective or appointed,” Pacquiao said.

He vowed that should he win the elections, he will make drug testing a requirement in his administration without prejudice to those who have already gone rehabilitation have turned their back on the illegal vice.

Pacquiao also encouraged other candidates to be open to the idea and have themselves tested for drug use.

“Although I’m not in a position to judge anyone on this issue, I am willing to undergo drug test anytime and anywhere. Sana ganyan din ang ating mga kapwa kandidato. Mas maganda kung hair follicle test para mas sigurado,” Pacquiao said.

Meanwhile, Senator Bong Go reiterated that, even if it is not required by law, he is willing to get tested anytime, anywhere.

“Katulad ng sinabi ko noon, kung ako ang tatanungin at kung ‘yan ang gusto ng taumbayan — anytime, anywhere ay willing naman ako magpa-drug test,” Go said.

“Ito ay para maipakita natin sa mga botante na fit for public service ang mga tumatakbo,” he added.

Go also underscored upholding the rights of Filipinos to be ensured that candidates have a clean lifestyle to be able to lead the nation.

“Karapatan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino malaman na malinis ang mga kandidato bago sila pumili ng mga mamumuno sa kanila. Wala dapat tinatago para makapili ng tama ang taumbayan,” he emphasized.  —/mbmf

Pacquiao, Cusi face off in Senate; Gatchalian ousts Matibag from budget hearing

Maris Federez   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing on the budget of the Department of Energy on Thursday went sour as Senator Manny Pacquiao took the floor to question DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Pacquiao and Cusi are members of two opposing factions of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

In the committee hearing, Pacquiao asked Cusi about the alleged “tongpats” or markup in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

The lawmaker also questioned why the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEM-C) remains as a market operator despite the existence of the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP).

“Nakita natin kung paano sinindikato ang mga nasa kapangyarihan ang EPIRA law. Kung yung trabahong para sa isa ay ginawang dalawa kaya doble doble ang bayarin ng mga consumers,” Pacquiao said.

Cusi then explained that PEM-C still manages IEMOP which was created in 2018 as part of the transition stage.

The DOE official also denied the alleged corruption and insisted that they abide by the regulations set by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).

“Wala pong corruption. Bakit po ang capitalization ng IEMOP is only 7,000? Kasi nga non-profit, non-stock corporation […] Wala pong kinikita yan,” Cusi said.

“Ito pong sinasabing accusation na ganyan, masakit din po ano. And I hope it can be done outside the walls of Senate at kung may kailangan ikaso, ikaso,” he added.

Pacquiao also questioned the alleged relationship between Attorney Matibag who is the president and CEO of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) and PEM-C, which Matibag himself answered.

“If Sen. Pacquiao only read the EPIRA Law, buo ang kwento nito eh. TRANSCO noon ang operator muna, bago nag PEM-C […] Wala na TransCo diyan. Alam niyo let’s call a spade a spade dito sa hearing na ‘to. This is all political, Sen. Pacquiao. Alam naman natin to, ito yung pinapasabi mo nung bago ka umalis eh. Na sinasabi mo meron kang pasabog,” Matibag said.

This resulted in a heated argument between Pacquiao and Matibag.

It was at this juncture that Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who chaired the committee stepped in and dismissed Matibag from the hearing.

“This is my committee and you have no right calling this hearing a political hearing. The senators are entitled to ask policy questions,” Gatchalian said.

“You’re out of order. You’re no longer recognized. We’ve given you a chance to answer the policy questions but instead, you insulted this committee by calling it a political hearing. Hindi naman fair ‘yon,” he added.

Pacquiao also slammed Matibag’s action.

“Bastos itong si Atty. Matibag eh. Sayang yung pagka-lawyer niya, eh parang walang pinag-aralan,” he said.

“Wag po kayong mainit, wag po kayo magagalit sa’kin katulad ng ginawa ni Atty. Matibag […] Nabastusan ako,” he continued.

Cusi, on the other hand, apologized on Matibag’s behalf.

“I have to apologize for the interaction if you were offended by Atty. Matibag. I have to make that apology considering that he comes from the DOE family, so my apologies,” he said.

The committee set another hearing for the budget of the other attached agencies of the DOE. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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