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Lower House approves draft federal charter on third and final reading

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines- The House of Representatives (HOR) on Tuesday (December 11) approved on third and final reading its draft constitution that seeks to shift to a federal form of government.

Voting 224-22 with three abstentions, the Lower House passed the ‘Resolution of Both Houses No. 15,’ penned by no less than House Speaker Gloria Arroyo.

The proposal seeks to remove the term limits for members of the Congress and the 1987 Constitution’s anti-political dynasty provision.

The bill also wants the president and vice president to come from the same party, each serving a term of four years and will be eligible for one reelection.

The proposal also seeks to bring back the two-party system and to require elected officials to have a college degree

The Lower House was able to meet the requirement that three-fourths of the total number of lawmakers must vote in favor of the bill for it to be passed.

But its chances of getting signed into law remain bleak, with senators earlier saying it would be ‘dead on arrival’ at the Senate. – UNTV News and Rescue

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Duterte not endorsing anyone for House Speaker; lets congressmen decide

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte. | ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The race for the next speaker of the House of Representatives (HOR) gets more intense less than a month before the 18th Congress formally opens.

Government allies have been waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to make a decision on who he thinks the next speaker should be who could help him push his administration’s legislative agenda.

During the oath taking ceremony at Malacañang on Tuesday (June 25), President Duterte asked newly elected congressmen to give him until June 28 to make a decision.

However, the President seems to prefer not to endorse anyone for the speakership post.

In his speech, President Duterte said he asked House Speaker Gloria Arroyo to choose her own successor.

The conversation, he said, happened during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s thanksgiving party.

The President said he asked Arroyo to spare him the burden of having to choose among his friends who were vying for the post.

“Sabi ko, ikaw na ang mamili ng speaker, (I told [Arroyo] to choose a speaker for me),” the President said.

“Tinawag ko si Cayetano, Alvarez, si Velasco, si Bebot na hindi naman lumapit. ‘Mamili ka na, ma’am,’ sabi ko, ‘hindi ako nagbobolahan.'”

(I called Cayetano, Alvarez, Velasco and Bebot. I told her, “You choose, ma’am. I am not joking.”)

“‘I will ask a favor from you [Arroyo]. Huwag mo na akong bigyan ng sakit ng loob (Don’t make it hard for me) because they are all my friends. I do not want to hurt anybody lalo na iyan. Ikaw na lang, tutal ikaw ang pinaka-senior dito, (I’ll let you do it, after all, you are the most senior here),” he added.

President Duterte did say that the incumbent Speaker refused to choose the next House leader for him.

He then told the congressmen to pick their leader themselves and make their decision.

“You have to decide. You can do it by party (or) affiliation. You can take out of Hugpong for the meantime because it’s just a foisted political party for the purpose of election,” the President said.

“Huwag na lang akong isali ninyo, (Just spare me),” he concluded.

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Neophyte Congressmen undergo Legislators Executive Course at HOR

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Newly elected congressmen have begun their training on legislation Monday (June 17) for them to get oriented on their roles and responsibilities as lawmakers in the 18th Congress that will officially open on July 22.   

Fifteen neophyte congressmen formed the first batch of three who will undergo the 3-day Legislators Executive Course at the House of Representatives (HOR).

The HOR and the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) organized the executive course for new members of the incoming Congress.

The three batches of training are from Monday to Wednesday on June 17 to 19, June 24 to 26 and July 1 to 3.

By the end of the course, “participants shall have gained knowledge, honed skills and imbibed good values on policy-making particularly on development policy, planning, and programming for a better quality of life, well-being and sustainable human development” as indicated in the course overview.

UP National College on Pulbic Administration dean Maria Fe Mendoza assured, “tutulungan namin sila na malaman nila kung ang legislative process ang policy proces paaano sila gagalaw sa policy system mayroon tayo kasi hindi lahat ng gusto nilang gawin ay mangayayari mahirap kasi ang bill to become a law.”

House secretary-general Robert Maling said they will also focus on delineating the difference of the workflow between the local and national governments.

“Marami sa kanila ang galing sa local yung transition kasi from the local to the congress medyo kailangang gawin nating madali para sa kanila,” said Maling.

One of the trainees, Navotas Representative John Rey Tiangco, said that as a former city mayor, he embraced the necessity of undergoing the course, although such is not a requirement from them, as he recognizes the fact that the work of a mayor is so much different from that of a congressman.  

“Iba ang trabaho ng mayor sa Congressman. First time natin magiging congressman at iba sa legislation,” Tiangco added. (with reports from Grace Casin) /mbmf

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Names that stand out in House speakership race of the 18th Congress

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Sunday, May 19th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: House of Representatives (UNTV News)

The names of Lord Allan Velasco, Martin Romualdez, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pantaleon Alvarez have been floating to be the next leader in the House of Representatives (HOR).

Both Romualdez and Velasco were endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the campaign rallies of Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

President Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, purportedly wants Cayetano to hold the reigns in the House.

And Alvarez, the first choice of the President to lead the last Congress, is making a return.

But now that former Senator Loren Legarda and Presidential son, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte had been proclaimed winners in their districts, the list of possible Speaker of the House has gotten longer.

According to PDP-Laban campaign manager, Senator Manny Pacquiao, they will still wait until the proclamation of all the winners in the midterm elections has been completed before they set a meeting with the party to select the next House Speaker and Senate President.

“We still have to deliberate on that, but we need to finish the proclamation first before we discuss the talks for Senate President. It will be an internal discussion,” said Pacquiao.

So far, Mayor Duterte who sits as the Hugpong ng Pagbabago Regional Party head is yet to announce her chosen one.

In one of her earlier statements, Sara said that she will support anyone as long as that person supports her father.

“So walay choice of one but ang ginatan-aw namu kung kinsa and supporter ni President Duterte [there is no choice of one but what we are looking for is who among them supports President Duterte] because we need the House of Representatives to move towards the direction of the President,” the mayor added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Liberal Party secretary general Congressman Kit Belmonte said that dictatorship is expected to remain in the lower chamber especially now that there is only 18 of them who made it in the elections.Our last count is 18 representatives so far – not much different from our numbers in the current Congress. Which means you can expect the same tyranny from the supermajority,” Belmonte said.

The newly elected members of the House of Representatives will begin their term on June 30. (with reports from Grace Casin) /mbmf

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