Lucas Bersamin is Duterte’s new Chief Justice

Marje Pelayo   •   November 28, 2018   •   5177

 

Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin (Image courtesy of Supreme Court via Twitter)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (November 28) has appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC).

 Bersamin served as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in March 2003 before he was assigned to the Supreme Court in 2009.

 Prior to this, he served as judge at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96 following years of private practice.

Among the notable cases that Bersamin handled was the declaration of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of former President Benigno Aquino III as unconstitutional and the bail granted to former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

Also, he voted in favor of the interment of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as well as in the controversial ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Bersamin will retire on October 18, 2019. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

SONA 2020: Bills Duterte wants 18th Congress to support

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 27) fulfilled one of his most important tasks as head of the country despite the risks of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He opted to deliver his SONA personally at the Batasang Pambansa despite heavy rain and several reports of COVID-19 positive test results among some of the event’s supposed attendees.

The ceremony was obviously a deviation from the Congress’ decade-long tradition: no prior meet-up with the Senate and House leaders, no fancy welcoming rites, no live performers and no handshakes.

The President went straight to the plenary upon his arrival and after the opening numbers, he went on to deliver his report to the nation. 

His speech lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes.

During his SONA, President Duterte asked the Congress to pass significant legislation that he believes are necessary in helping his administration propel the country even amidst the ongoing challenges. 

One of which is the revival of death penalty for drug-related crimes.

“I reiterate the swift passage of reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Acts of 2002,” he said in his speech stressing the dangers illegal drugs cause to an individual and families.

Likewise, he asked Congress to immediately enact the Bayanihan Two so that assistance to sectors most affected by the pandemic will be delivered right away and funds will be made available for the procurement of additional medical equipment that will augment the country’s healthcare system.

“I hope that we can get some or the same treatment of clarity, purpose and the fastness to support the passage of the Bayanihan [to Recover as One Act], which will supplement funds for recovery and response against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Aside from these two priority bills, the President enumerated several legislation which he wants Congress to deliberate and pass soon. 

These include the passage of the:

  • Corporate Recovery And Tax Incentives For Enterprises (Create) Act
  • Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Or Fist Act
  • Establishment of the Department Of Overseas Filipinos
  • National Land Use Act
  • Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund
  • Advanced Nursing Education Act

After his SONA, the President immediately left the Batasang Complex and went back to Malacañang. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Less drama at Duterte’s 5th SONA — Bernal

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) is working double-time to complete the last-minute preparations for the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

But unlike the fourth SONA, some major changes can be expected on that special day of the President, given that the country is experiencing a pandemic. 

Last year’s SONA was a deviation from previous SONAs based on its theme and cinematic treatment initiated by award-winning director Joyce Bernal who was personally picked by the President himself. 

But with the new normal forced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the plan is to use less camera work because only a few individuals may be allowed to enter the Batasang Pambansa.

Bernal said they have prepared a number of pre-recorded materials for the event which include the singing of the national anthem and some of the supporting materials for the President’s speech.

Also, the facility for the video conferencing of members of the Congress, agency heads and other government officials has already been set up.

Kapag meron kaming mga malalaking equipment na ganun kailangan ng tao so bawas tao talaga,” Bernal said. 

“Siguro iyong mga shots namin, dadaanin na lang sa bilis pero naka-planta na talaga kasi wala na rin yung lakad,” she added.

On Monday (July 27), the Batasan premises will undergo disinfection.

In adherence to strict health protocols, markings will be installed to guide the attendees in observing proper physical distance and body temperature of all persons coming in will be checked.

On Sunday, all persons authorized to physically attend the SONA will have to take the swab test just to ensure that they are COVID-19- free.

Security measures, as always, will be tight and no private media outlet will be allowed inside the venue. 

Expected highlights of Duterte’s fifth SONA will be the administration’s programs for the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DILG reiterates: No mass gathering during 5th SONA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reiterated that mass gathering is still prohibited even during President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The reminder was issued following numerous requests made to the department from groups who want to conduct protest rallies during the President’s SONA on Monday (July 27).

In an advisory released by the DILG, the department reminded local government units (LGU) to prohibit mass gatherings, following the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said they will strictly monitor and will apprehend anyone who will violate the IATF policies during SONA.

“Base sa instruction and guidelines na kapag may mag-rally doon na bawal at lalo na kapag walang permit at goes beyond the authorized number, aarestuhin talaga sila, (Based on the instruction and guidelines, if a group stages a rally without a permit and goes beyond the authorized number, they will be apprehended),” according to NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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