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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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Lacson sees conflict of interest on presence of Sec Duque in Philhealth Board

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson (L) and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (R)

Senator Panfilo Lacson reveals having possession of several documents that will prove of the seeming conflict of interest with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III sitting in as head of the Philhealth Board.

Lacson made the revelation amid the corruption issues haunting the government health insurance body.

He said, based on the copy of a contract of lease in his possession, the regional office that Philhealth is renting in Dagupan City is owned by Duque’s family.

“If this is not conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. Building mo, naka-contract of lease ka and that is a family corporation,” Lacson said.

He added that he also found out some more modus operandi happening inside Philhealth.

“There’s another modus operandi kung saan yung hospital mismo in cahoots with PhilHealth. Nagbibigay ng report extending confinement of patients na nadischarge na,” he added.

The senator said he is worried of what could possibly happen to the billions of pesos that is allotted as a fund for the Universal Health Care program with Duque at the helm of Philhealth.

Lacson said he will call for an investigation regarding the said issue once the 18th Congress officially opens in July. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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Solon: Duterte expected to bare House Speaker bet on June 28

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | RTVM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may reveal his preferred candidate for the speakership post in the House of Representatives on June 28, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Masbate Representative-elect Wilcon Kho said Duterte announced this during a dinner meeting with several congressmen at Malacañang on Tuesday night.

“Ang sabi ni Presidente, hintayin na lang namin ang June 28 para sa desisyon… may pinapahiwatig siya na iniendorso pero hintayin na lang natin sa 28,” Kho told reporters in a chance interview.

Five congressmen have expressed interest in gunning for the top post in the Lower House, namely Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig City Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, Pampanga Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

Romualdez, Velasco and Cayetano earlier met with Duterte during his official visit to Japan to ask for the president’s endorsement. The chief executive has yet to pick a candidate although he earlier said he will be neutral on the issue.

Cayetano earlier said he is open to sharing a term with Velasco and that the arrangement has been mentioned by the president himself during their meeting in Japan.

READ: Cayetano open to House Speakership term-sharing

Velasco, however, rejected the idea.

Velasco and Gonzales were among the attendees at Tuesday’s dinner meeting with Duterte’s son, Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte.

Kho said that during the meeting, Velasco also laid out his legislative agenda should he be voted as the next speaker when the 18th Congress opens in July.

The neophyte congressman, however, clarified that it is still up to the solons to decide who to vote for the speakership post.

Meanwhile, Velasco thanked the chief executive for joining the dinner reception to welcome the 124 neophyte congressmen in an aim to “foster camaraderie among the incoming members of the 18th Congress to work harmoniously and forward our legislative agenda.” (with details from Grace Casin)

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Cayetano open to House speakership term-sharing

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday expressed openness to the idea of sharing the term of the 18th Congress speakership with other contenders for the post.

In a chance interview prior to the economic and legislative agenda meeting of the Duterte administration in Clark, Pampanga, Cayetano said the idea of term sharing was mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte himself when he met with him, along with other speakership aspirants, in Japan weeks ago.

Cayetano said he is willing to share the speakership with Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, but the latter did not favor the proposal.

“Nasabi ko sa ating pangulo na payag nako kahit na I was expecting three years na hati kmi ni Allan Velasco. Ang problema, ayaw pa niya pumayag doon,” he said.

Others gunning for the top House post are Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, Pampanga Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

Cayetano said the House speakership race is fast becoming tight, with some resorting to offering money in exchange for votes.

“The reality is, may namimigay ng pera sa Congress at hindi lang pera, may kasamang papel na nagsasabing pirmahan niyo ito,” he said.

“Actually now, ang offer ay more than money, may kumausap sa akin na nag-ooffer ng P200-million pero Congressman na project sa party-list,” he added, although he refused to name names.

Cayetano also clarified that the relation between him and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio remains amicable despite his threat to break up the administration coalition if she would endorse Velasco’s bid to become speaker.

The presidential daughter earlier said she did not express her support for Cayetano’s bid but she would back any one who would support Duterte’s programs.

“There has been some communication pero pabayaan mo muna na ma-sort out naming. Maaari ngang iba ang pagkarinig, iba ang pagkasabi… If she feels that way, I am hurt and sorry if she feels that way but hindi ganun talaga,” he said.

Cayetano and other lawmakers and Cabinet officials met in Clark, Pampanga to discuss the administration’s economic and legislative agenda for the last three years in office of President Duterte. (with details from Grace Casin)

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