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

Maris Federez   •   May 19, 2019   •   2777

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

Neophyte Senators get key committees in Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   July 23, 2019

The Senate of the Philippines released on Tuesday (July 23) its first batch of elected chairpersons for different committees this 18th Congress.

  1. Agriculture & Food – Sen. Cynthia Villar (retained)
  2. Blue Ribbon Committee – Sen. Richard Gordon (retained)
  3. Constitutional Amendments & Revision of Codes – Sen. Kiko Pangilinan (formerly chaired by Sen. Franklin Drilon)
  4. Economic Affairs – Sen. Imee Marcos (formerly chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian)
  5. Energy – Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (retained)
  6. Finance – Sen. Sonny Angara (formerly chaired by ex-Senator Loren Legarda)
  7. Foreign relations – Sen. Koko Pimentel (formerly chaired by now House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano)
  8. Games & Amusement – Sen. Lito Lapid (formerly chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson)
  9. Health & Demography – Sen. Bong Go (formerly chaired by ex-Sen. JV Ejercito)
  10. Labor, Employment & Human resources development – Sen. Joel Villanueva (retained)
  11. Local Government – Sen. Francis Tolentino (formerly chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara)
  12. National Defense & Security – Sen. Panfilo Lacson (formerly chaired by now DICT chief Gringo Honasan)
  13. Public Information & Mass Media – Sen. Bong Revilla Jr. (formerly chaired by Sen. Grace Poe)
  14. Public Order & Dangerous Drugs – Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa (formerly chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson)
  15. Public Services – Sen. Grace Poe (retained)
  16. Public Works – Sen. Manny Pacquiao (retained)
  17. Social Justice, Welfare & Rural Development – Sen. Leila De Lima (formerly chaired by Sen. Cynthia Villar)
  18. Tourism – Sen. Nancy Binay (retained)
  19. Ways & Means- Sen. Pia Cayetano (formerly chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara)
  20. Women, Children, Family Relations & Gender Equality – Sen. Risa Hontiveros (retained)

Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to announce the chairpersons for the following key Senate Committees:

  1. Accounts
  2. Agrarian Reform
  3. Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies
  4. Civil Service and Government Reorganization
  5. Climate Change
  6. Cooperatives
  7. Cultural communities
  8. Education
  9. Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation
  10. Environment and Natural Resources
  11. Ethics and Privileges
  12. Government Corporations and Public Enterprises
  13. Justice and Human Rights
  14. Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation
  15. Rules
  16. Science and Technology
  17. Sports
  18. Trade and Commerce
  19. Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement
  20. Youth

Cayetano formally elected as House Speaker, vows to ‘do what is right’

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the House of Representatives have formally elected Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as their next leader when the regular session of the 18th Congress opened on Monday (July 22).

With a vote of 266, Cayetano defeated his lone opponent for Speaker, Manila Representative Bienvenido “Benny” Abante who only received 28 votes.

Two solons abstained while one voted “no” to either nominations.

During the election, Cayetano was nominated by his former speakership rivals, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte.

Abante was nominated by Iloilo Representative Janet Garin and AKO BICOL party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier endorsed Cayetano’s bid for speakership, who will share the term with Velasco. The president proposed that Cayetano lead the House for 15 months and be succeeded by Velasco for the remaining 21 months.

Cayetano vowed to uphold the term-sharing agreement.

“Sana po ako’y maging worthy at sana po ay tulungan niyo ako para sa loob ng 15 na buwan ay mapagsilbihan po natin ang ating mga kababayang Mabuti,” he said in his speech after his election.

(I hope to be worthy and I hope you will help me during the 15 months to serve our people well.)

The newly-elected speaker also assured that the House of Representatives, under his helm, will be a partner of the Duterte administration.

“The House of Representatives, the House of the People are partners with the Duterte administration,” he said.

“We are partners in pursuing a better life for all Filipinos, whether we talk about teachers, about senior citizens, about young people, OFWs, professionals, our teachers, government workers, workers in the private sectors, or out-of-school youth, rich or poor, young or old, of whatever persuasion, of whatever religion, we are all connected and united,” he elaborated.

Aside from his assurance to remain as the Duterte administration’s ally, Cayetano also called on House members to unite and to do what is right.

“Tayo po ang takbuhan ng sambayanan. We will do what is right, so that we will have a Congress that is relevant, responsive and reliable… United and we commit to God, our people the work of the 18th Congress,” he said.

Still in line with the president’s endorsement, Romualdez was elected on Monday as House Majority Leader.

Meanwhile, Presidential son, Paolo was elected as one of the 11 deputy speakers of the House of Representatives along with Representatives Ferdinand Hernandez, Evelina Escudero, Loren Legarda, Conrad Estrella III, Prospero Pichay Jr., Roberto Puno, Eduardo Villanueva, Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Johnny Pimentel and Luis Raymond Villafuerte.

Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab was elected as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations while Cavite Representative Abraham Tolentino was voted as chairman of the Committee on Accounts.

The lower House also elected Jose Luis Montales as Secretary General and Retired Gen. Ramon Apolinario as Sergeant-at-Arms.

The election for Speakership inside the House Plenary hall this year did not have any ruckus compared to last year after House members ousted then-speaker, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and replaced him with then-Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Last year’s Speakership squabble delayed Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address by an hour.

Sotto reminds colleagues: Respect resource persons during Senate hearings

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

MANILA, Philippines – Reelected Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Monday reminded his colleagues to respect the rights of the resource persons they invite in their inquiries, saying they are primarily legislators and not prosecutors.

“We are not prosecutors, we are not Judges, our hearings had been known to be precursors of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and even self-injury. It should not be the case,” Sotto said in his speech after he was reelected through viva voce.

“The constitution expressly provides that the rights of the invitees must be respected,” he added.

However, Sotto was quick to clarify that respecting the rights of resource persons does not mean they will be soft on those lying to them.

“I only mean that our inquiries should really be in aid of legislation, although I also believe that those who lie in our face must stay in our premises or Muntinlupa if they continue to do so. What I am only saying is that we are legislators, primarily,” he said.

Sotto retained his post as Senate President after he was after majority of senators voted for him at the start of the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress on Monday.

READ: Sotto retains post as Senate President

Sotto said the Senate will continue to be cooperative but independent and transparent on issues.

The senate leader also outlined some of the priority bills they will deliberate on in the 18th Congress, including the proposal to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 which will be called the Anti-Terrorism Act, the proposed Public Services Act, and the proposed national budget.

Sotto, meanwhile, sees heated debates ahead for the proposed revival of the death penalty. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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