Looming ‘coup’? Paolo Duterte says speakership race far from over
Robie de Guzman • July 11, 2019 • 1171
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential son, Davao City 1st Representative Paolo Duterte on Thursday said the fight for the House speakership is far from over despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement of a term-sharing scheme between Congressmen Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco.
In a message to reporters, the younger Duterte said no one has formally won the speakership race yet and an election would still be held on July 22 when the regular session of 18th Congress opens. This is also the day when President Duterte will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address.
“May election pa sa July 22 at doon ako mas interesado, kung sino ang manalo. Kasi may bali-balita, may isa sa tatlo na balak mag coup d’etat on the day,” Duterte said.
“Mukhang hindi pa tapos ang laban para sa kanilang tatlo at sa mga backers,” he added.
The lawmaker did not name the speaker aspirant who might stage a coup d’etat during the House speakership election.
It was earlier reported that Cayetano will serve as speaker for 15 months, to be succeeded by Velasco for 21 months. Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, another speaker contender, will be the majority leader.
Aside from Cayetano, Velasco and Romualdez, other solons who have expressed interest in the position are Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, Bayan Muna party-list Carlos Zarate and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
Ungab has been nominated by regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, headed by Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Caprio while Zarate is the progressive Makabayan bloc’s bet.
When asked for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it is still up to House members to choose their leader.
“In the ultimate analysis, the vote on the speaker would lie on the members of Congress. The only reason why the President gave that suggestion is because those or vying for it went to him and sought his wise suggestion to settle the row between and among them,” Panelo told reporters
He also believes that the president’s influence would remain unscathed even if lawmakers don’t vote for Cayetano as speaker.
“It’s not a reflection of the clout of the President. Because the President didn’t want to interfere in the first place, didn’t want to intrude. It’s them who somehow persuaded him to come in,” he said.
President Duterte earlier said the election of the speaker has resulted in a “bitter and fractious rivalry,” and that he decided to step into the speakership squabble “to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation.” (with details from Grace Casin and Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte ‘flexibility’ to schedule the opening of classes in schools during a state of emergency.
Voting 23-0, senators on Monday unanimously passed Senate Bill 1541, which proposes to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act 7797, a law which sets the opening of school-year as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.
The measure covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the country.
Once enacted into law, the bill would authorize the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Education, to set the opening of classes nationwide or in selected areas at any date during a state of emergency or calamity.
A similar measure has been approved in the committee level in the House of Representatives on Saturday.
The approval of the proposed measure comes amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected millions of people worldwide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.
In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Duterte certified as urgent House Bill No. 6785, which seeks to amend and toughen the Human Security Act of 2007.
In his letter, Duterte said the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”
The House Bill reportedly adopted the Senate version which passed on third and final reading in February.
Under the bill, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.
It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.
The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.
It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.
Once a bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representatives can immediately pass a measure on second and third reading on the same day.
Rights advocates had earlier warned that the bill’s enactment would worsen the human rights situation in the country.
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