Lower House approves draft federal charter on third and final reading

Marje Pelayo   •   December 12, 2018   •   2618

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

Cha-Cha sees no progress in Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators seem adamant on catering to the House of Representatives’ (HOR) proposed Charter change.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said such a proposal is not a priority at this time adding that the Senate is not considering accepting it after the HOR approved its version of the bill.

The Lower House proposes the following amendments to the Constitution:

1. Legislative flexibility for foreign Investments

2. Tandem voting for president and vice president

3. Election of senators by region (with proposal dividing PH to 9 regions)

4. 5-year term for local officials and Congressmen

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairman Rufus Rodriguez is asking the senators to take time to study their proposal before deciding to drop it.

“I hope that the senators, instead of saying, it’s doomed, it’s not a priority, should look into every proposal: are they good for the country or not? That is the main issue there,” Rodriguez argued.

The lawmaker also denied allegations that the bill is “self-serving” on the part of the congressmen and that they have personal interests in pushing the proposed amendments.

“If this is approved it will only apply to those elected in 2022. All of us will go to the elections of 2022,” Rodriguez said.

“We are not extending our terms,” he added.

The Surigao Del Sur Representative stressed that the bill underwent public consultation from various sectors across the country.

The Lower House lawmakers are expected to debate on the measure at the plenary come February next year which may run for two months, according to Rodriguez. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

Cayetano assures no delay in passing 2020 proposed National Budget

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured that there will be no delays in the passage of the proposed National Budget for 2020 in the House of Representative (HOR).

However, there will be slight changes in the budget of several agencies such as the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy and Health.

The Lower House also vowed to scrutinize the funds for infrastructure projects to prevent ‘cuts’ or corruption in the government’s projects.

“There will be no post budget enactment intervention by any member of Congress dyan,” Cayetano said.

“So iyong ‘no pork, no parking, no delay,’ iyan na rin ang mantra namin, ( ‘No pork, no parking, no delay, that is our mantra now to),” Cayeteno said. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

Duterte not endorsing anyone for House Speaker; lets congressmen decide

Marje Pelayo   •   June 26, 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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