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

Maris Federez   •   May 19, 2019   •   2917

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

Pangilinan asks public to support Robredo as she takes on drug war challenge

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan called on Filipinos to support Vice President Leni Robredo as she takes on the task of co-chairing the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

Pangilinan said Robredo is facing a dangerous challenge ahead and would need the public’s full support to succeed.

“Mapanganib ang kanyang hinaharap na pagsubok at naniniwala tayo na kapag buo ang suporta at pagkilos ng mamamayan sa magiging hakbang niya ay mas matitiyak ang kanyang tagumpay,” he said in a statement.

Robredo on Wednesday accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for her to become co-chairperson of ICAD, in a bid to stop the killing of innocent lives under the administration’s war on drugs.

Pangilinan said the Liberal Party supported its chairperson’s decision although they are in doubt of Malacañang’s motive and sincerity about its offer.

“Bagamat hindi natin matiyak ang motibo at sinseridad ng Malacañang sa pag-alok sa nasabing pwesto, wala tayong duda sa sinseridad ng ating Bise Presidente sa kanyang layunin na hanapan ng tunay na solusyon ang problema sa iligal na droga sa bansa,” he said.

“Maliwanag ang naging pahayag ng ating Bise Pangulo na sa pagtanggap niya sa nasabing hamon ay tututulan nya ang araw-araw na patayan, papanagutin niya ang mga ninja cops, at hahabulin niya ang mga sindikato ng droga at mga kasabwat nito na nasa likod ng pagpapalusot ng tone-toneladang shabu sa BoC. Dahil dito, buo ang ating pagsuporta sa kanya,” he added.

He added that before Robredo’s announcement of her acceptance of the post, the party discussed and weighed its pros and cons.

“Pinag-usapan sa partido ang offer. Tinimbang ang mga pros at cons. At kahit alam ni VP Leni na maaaring patibong ito, tinanggap niya ang hamon. Mas matimbang sa kanya ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan na target ng madugong drug war,” he said.

Robredo’s camp initially expressed wariness on Duterte’s offer for her to co-lead the government’s war on drugs, even calling the appointment “meaningless,” and the post “problematic” and “non-existent.

But despite questions surrounding the offer, the vice president said she would accept the task and focus on what she can contribute to the anti-drug campaign.

Cayetano seeks review of National Building Code

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is pushing for a review of the National Building Code after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday in parts of Mindanao (October 29).

“I think it’s about time that we take three drastic steps. Number one, to review the National Building Code,” he said.

House Bill 4008 or the Building Code of 2019 aims to repeal the Presidential Decree 1046 or the National Building Code of the country.

Under the proposed bill, there will be new building standards to reduce the risk of severe damage during calamities like earthquakes. Non-compliance with the said standards can also lead to criminal liability.

In a statement, House Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero said it is high time to change Presidential Decree 1046 because it was passed into law in 1977.

He also said there is poor compliance to the National Building Code.

“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” he said.

The House Bill 4008 will be one of the priority bills to be discussed in the House of Representatives once session resumes on November 4.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Cayetano: Term sharing deal with Velasco still stands but Duterte has final say

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

New House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano walks up to his post on stage at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 22 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that his term-sharing deal with Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Velasco still stands but stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte – who brokered the agreement – has the final say.

“No use talking about something na malayo pa. But wala naman dapat ikabahala yung kahit sino kasi nga lahat naman tayo ay sumasang-ayon na ang Pangulo ang magde-decide. And so far, meron siyang standing na decision and so far, that stands,” Cayetano said during the sidelines of his inspection of the 2019 SEA Games sports facilities in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Cayetano made the statement in response to comments that it might be difficult to replace him after he got high trust and approval ratings in September Pulse Asia Survey.

Under the term-sharing deal, Cayetano would lead the Lower Chamber in the first 15 months while Velasco will serve the remaining 21 months of the three-year term.

Cayetano said he would ask the President for instructions a few months before his term ends as leader of the super majority.

“So I promised the President na I’ll do a good job. And then one month, two months before yung middle o yung pinag-usapan, I’ll go to him for instructions,” he said.

Velasco has yet to issue any reaction on the issue.

Malacañang, for its part, said that the President will not interfere and will let House members elect their own leader.

“Nasa members of Congress ‘yun. Actually, they are the ones choosing the Speaker,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“I don’t think he interferes. His style is he doesn’t interfere unless you ask him to,” he added.

It can be recalled that the race for House Speakership got heated when a number of lawmakers including Cayetano, Velasco and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez expressed interest in the speakership post.

The issue had divided House members until Duterte himself intervened and endorsed Cayetano as Speaker, who will share the term with Velasco.

In the same agreement, Romualdez was given the job as House Majority Floor Leader. — RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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