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Lacson to file resolution seeking vote of confidence on SP Sotto

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019

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

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Capiz Rep. Castro eyeing House Minority leader post

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Capiz Representative Fredenil Castro

MANILA, Philippines – Capiz Representative Fredenil Castro is considering seeking the Minority Leader post when the 18th Congress opens later this month.

In a statement, Castro said he is seriously studying suggestions by other congressmen for him to take the post “to maintain a credible balance of opinion on all issues” in the House of Representatives.

“I am seriously considering whether I could maintain my balance considering the hairline difference between being a minority member from an opposition. This is because, critical collaboration as distinguished from being destructive is called for,” he said.

Castro said he is open to suggestion and will wait for guidance before he responds to his fellow lawmakers’ call.

The Capiz representative served as Majority leader in the latter part of the 17th Congress, replacing Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya Jr.

Castro’s statement comes after Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s suggestion for him to take the Majority Leader position instead following the latter’s endorsement of a term-sharing set-up between Congressmen Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco as House speaker.

READ: Romualdez accepts House Majority Leader job

READ: Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

But Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate opposed Castro’s bid, saying the Minority Leader should come from the genuine opposition.

“Mahirap namang hawak na nga nila ang leadership ng Congress ay pati minority leadership ay kukunin pa nila,” Zarate said in a statement.

(It is not right for them to have the minority leadership when they already have the leadership in Congress.)

“If someone is to be the minority leader, he should at least be part of the true minority who opposes the anti-democratic and anti-people policies of the administration,” he added.

Zarate is the progressive Makabayan bloc’s candidate for House Speakership race. (with details from Grace Casin)

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Senators think charter change still has a long way to go in 18th Congress

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

Some senators are still not sold on the idea of instilling changes in the 1987 Constitution in the 18th Congress.

This, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s manifestations of pursuing the charter change.

Senator Franklin Drilon said it is still uncertain as to how senators will vote on the proposed constitutional amendment.

Drilon said, “(It is) difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote. Senate prides itself as independent of Malacañang.”

“Plus, I sense that a number of my colleagues have a “moist eye” on the Presidency in 2022, and may not support an amendment which may lead to a shift to federalism,” he added.

Liberal Party president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, who held the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, meanwhile, said the fate of the charter change will depend on composition of the Senate.

“That all depends on the majority. We will see how it goes given the new composition of the Senate,” Pangilinan said.

Senator Ralph Recto, on the other hand, said he still wants to have the cha-cha proposal scrutinized.

“We’ll have to take a look at details of the cha-cha proposal,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, believes that majority of the senators have not wavered in their stance regarding the charter change.

 “It’s a little more complicated than what the President and the House want. Why? We are simply back to the same question, which is to clarify the ambiguity of the provision in the Constitution that deals with the manner of voting by Congress constituting itself into a constituent assembly,” Lacson said.

He further said, “Again, in doing so, we are faced with a chicken and egg situation. If it’s via ConCom, do we have enough time to accomplish it before the end of his term?”

Neophyte senator Francis Tolentino, however, believes that the passage of the proposed change in the form of government can still happen during President Duterte’s term.

“Tapos na yung preparatory work ng ConCom. Yung ginawa ni former Justice Puno [The preparatory work in ConCom is finished. What former Justice Puno did], it was commissioned by the executive branch. May napadala na silang report at nasa infancy stage na yung kauna unahang version nito yung sa Bangsamoro. Hindi pa siguro huli ang lahat [They were able to send their report and the very first version of it – the Bangsamor- is already at the infancy stage. Maybe it’s not yet too late,” Tolentino said.

The proposed charter change was able to slightly move in the Lower House during the 17th Congress.

It was, however, stalled in the Senate until the Congress adjourned. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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Senators file pet bills for 18th Congress

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2019

The country’s senators have started filing their pet bills on Monday (July 1) as they begin their regular office work in preparation for the official opening of the 18th Congress on July 22 for President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Every senator will file their first 10 priority bills.

The first who filed his bills is Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

His proposals include the following:

  1. Presidential Drug Enforcement Agency
  2. Anti Drug Penal  Institution
  3. Medical Scholarship Act
  4. Amendments to Human Security Act
  5. Hybrid Elections Act
  6. 14th Month Pay Law
  7. Anti Fake News Act
  8. Increasing Penalty of Perjury
  9. Sim Card Registration Act
  10. Dangerous Drugs Court

Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara also filed his pet bills, as follows:

  1. Upgrading Salary Grade Level of Teachers from 11 to 19
  2. Under Privileged Students’ Discount Act
  3. Increasing the Monthly Pension of Senior Citizens
  4. Dialysis Center Act
  5. Resolution on Dialysis Fraud

Senator Bong Revilla Jr also filed his priority bills for the 18th Congress, which include:

  1. P125 Daily Across-the-Board increase in the Salary Rates of Employees in Private Sector
  2. Lowering the Mandatory & Optional Retirement Age of Government employees

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, filed the following:

  1. Coco Levy Act
  2. National Land Use Act of 2019
  3. Proposed Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources
  4. Proposed Department of Disaster & Emergency Management
  5. Rainwater Management Bill
  6. Single-Use Plastic Regulation & Management Act
  7. Basic Education Teachers Pay Increase Act

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Ralph Recto, on the other hand, will once again file the bills entitled Sogie Equality Bill or the Anti-Discrimation Bill and the One Town, One Doctor Bill, respectively.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva said he will propose measures regarding the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers.

“Gustong gusto natin yung Bagong Bayani Filipino hospital for our OFW and then yung OFW insurance act,” said Villanueva.

Senator Lito Lapid, on the other hand, signified his desire to strengthen the free legal assistance and will propose a measure to resolve the water shortage, according to his son, Mark Lapid.

“Siyempre gusto niyang magsubmit ng paano natin (sosolusyunan) ang water crisis,” Lapid said.

Meanwhile, the offices of the newly elected senators are currently under renovation.

These include the offices of Senators Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla, Ronald Bato dela Rosa who personally visited his office, Bong Go, and Lito Lapid.

The equipment and furniture of the outgoing senators are now pulled out of their former offices.  (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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