Obama warns of dangers of ‘strongman politics’

admin   •   July 18, 2018   •   2293

Former U.S. President Barack Obama. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko


Former United States President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of the rising influence of “strongman politics” on Tuesday (July 17).

Speaking at the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa, the former president said some current politicians were seeking “to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

He warned that support for far-right politicians in the West was based on “barely hidden racial nationalism.” -Reuters

Cayetano bats for ‘practical’ term extension for elected officials

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – House Speakership aspirant, Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano is looking to extend the term limits of elected officials.

Cayetano, whose speakership bid in the 18th Congress was endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte, said that longer term of office is more “practical” and “productive” for lawmakers.

“While we will push for federalism, I think there is a way that the Senate will agree that we push either for four years, no term limit; or five years, three-term limit,” Cayetano said during a gathering of House lawmakers on Wednesday night.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution allows members of the House of Representatives to serve a three-year term and no more than three consecutive terms while a senator has a six-year team with one re-election.

Cayetano said the current term limit is hindering the country’s development.

“Bakit? You are elected in May. You take office in June. ‘Yung 6 months you’re still getting organized. Kung kalaban mo nakaupo, ubos na ‘yung pondo, di ba? Nag-explain ka pa sa tao bakit hindi mo nade-deliver lahat?” he said.

“Your budget starts in January. That’s only one year, 2020. Because at 2021, everyone’s thinking of 2022. Then the cycle starts again,” he added.

The speaker aspirant, however, clarified he wants the measure implemented to give lawmakers more time to approve bills.

“Kanina, may nagsabi na sa media, ‘Si Alan is pushing for term extension,’ which is not true; 15-21 na nga e. Baka iniisip ng iba, gusto kong gawing 4 o 5 years para ma-extend din kami. Hindi po ‘yun ang sinabi ko,” he said.

“Ang sabi ko, while there are substantive bills that we have to file, the reality is there is also administrative restrictions and limitations that’s why hindi magdevelop ang ating bansa. And one of them is the three-year term na may term-limit pa,” he said.

GOD Bless the 18th Congress.GOD Bless the Philippines.

Posted by Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday, 10 July 2019

If he gets the House top seat during the election on July 22, in which he will serve for only 15 months, Cayetano said he wants to lead the most “disruptive” Congress.

“Kung pagbibigyan niyo ako, total 15 months lang ako. Ayoko umalis na failure. Gusto ko umalis na napaka-productive,” he said.

“I’m asking all of you, let us all be the most disruptive Congress, in the sense that we disrupted the status quo and we can deliver more,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, views Cayetano’s suggestion to extend term limit as “delivering the wrong message.”

“Incoming House Speaker Cayetano’s longer term limit suggestion: Starting on the wrong foot, or delivering the wrong message,” Lacson wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Lacson added that the proposal is just another way of saying goodbye to the proposed charter change in the 18th Congress.

“I would say, country first before self-interest,” he said.

READ: Palace: Term extension bid for elected officials up to Congress

Malacañang earlier said it is up to the lawmakers on whether to approve Cayetano’s proposal, and suggested that they ask the public about the matter. (with details from Grace Casin)

Pres. Duterte to dismiss another set of officials

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 14, 2019

File photo: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — There will be another set of government officials that President Rodrigo Duterte will dismiss.

According to the president, during the campaign sortie of PDP-Laban in Cauayan City, Isabela on Wednesday, these officials are not in line with his program against corruption.

“I will be firing another set of officials. I’m sorry. Mahirap kasi. Iyan lang ano ko, if you want to help me run the government at iyong programa ko,” he said.

(I will be firing another set of officials. I’m sorry. It is difficult. That is my concern if you want to help me run the government and my program.)

He also criticized several officials in the Department of Agrarian Reform (DA), whose names he did not identify, for their inaction on land conversion cases.

Duterte reiterated that the unused government land should be distributed to farmers.

“You know, ako lang ang presidente ngayon. I have distributed almost 160,000 hectares,” he adds.

(You know, I am the only president. I have distributed almost 160,000 hectares.)

He also criticized the opposition candidates for not accomplishing anything.

“Bigyan mo ako ng isang project ng Otso Direcho that has a meaning or impact on the lives of the Filipino. Sige nga,” Duterte urged.

(Give me one project of Otso Diretso that has a meaning or impact on the lives of the Filipino.)—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

Trump, Obama tout clashing visions of U.S. as elections near

UNTV News   •   November 5, 2018

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump at inauguration ceremonies swearing in Trump as president on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Barack Obama made dueling election appearances on Sunday, offering sharply different views on the country’s problems but agreeing on the high stakes for voters in the final 48 hours of a tight campaign.

With opinion polls showing dozens of tight U.S. congressional and gubernatorial races in Tuesday’s election, the current and former presidents said the results would determine what kind of country Americans live in for the next two years.

“This election will decide whether we build on this extraordinary prosperity we have created,” Trump told a cheering crowd in Macon, Georgia, warning that Democrats would “take a giant wrecking ball to our economy.”

Trump campaigned with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams for the governor’s office.

Obama condemned Trump, without addressing him by name, and Republicans for what he described as their divisive policies and repeated lies. He hammered Trump and Republicans for repeatedly trying to repeal his signature healthcare law while at the same time claiming to support the law’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

“The only check right now on the behavior of these Republicans is you and your vote,” Obama told supporters in Gary, Indiana, during a rally for endangered Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.

“The character of our country is on the ballot,” he said.

Trump and Obama are the most popular figures in their parties, and their appearances on the campaign trail are designed to stoke enthusiasm among core supporters in the late stages of a midterm congressional election widely seen as a referendum on Trump’s first two years in the White House.

Opinion polls and election forecasters have made Democrats favorites on Tuesday to pick up the 23 seats they need to capture a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would enable them to stymie Trump’s legislative agenda and investigate his administration.

Republicans are favored to retain their slight majority in the U.S. Senate, currently at two seats, which would let them retain the power to approve U.S. Supreme Court and other judicial nominations on straight party-line votes.

In the midst of a six-day national blitz of rallies ahead of Tuesday’s election, Trump will also appear later on Sunday in Tennessee, which hosts a vital U.S. Senate race.


In the final stages of the campaign, Trump has ramped up his hard-line rhetoric on immigration and cultural issues including warnings about a caravan of migrants headed to the border with Mexico and of liberal “mobs.”

He repeated those themes in Georgia, urging voters to “look at what is marching up – that’s an invasion.” He said Democrats encouraged chaos at the borders because it was good politics.

Ronna McDaniel, head of the Republican National Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week” program that the media had chosen to focus on Trump’s immigration rhetoric but the president was also emphasizing economic and job gains under his presidency.

The Labor Department on Friday reported sharply better-than-expected job creation in October, with the unemployment rate steady at a 49-year low of 3.7 percent and wages notching their best annual gain in almost a decade.

But in Indiana, Obama said Republicans were taking credit for the economic renewal that started under his presidency. “You hear those Republicans brag about how good the economy is, where do you think that started?” he asked.

Obama also appeared later on Sunday in his old home state of Illinois, which hosts a competitive governor’s race and several tight U.S. House of Representative races. Obama’s appearance on the campaign trail is his second in three days.

In the battle for the Senate, Democrats are defending seats in 10 states that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, including a handful that he won by double digits.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, who heads the Democratic Senate campaign arm, said it was “remarkable” that Democrats were even in striking distance of capturing the Senate given the unfavorable map they faced.

“The fact we still have a narrow path to a majority is a sea change from where we were two years ago,” he said on ABC. “These are some very close races and they are in states where Trump won big.”

As of Sunday morning, almost 34.4 million people had cast ballots early, according to the Election Project at the University of Florida, which tracks turnout. That is up 67.8 percent from the 20.5 million early votes cast in all of 2014, the last federal election when the White House was not at stake.

For all Reuters election coverage, click: here

Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Susan Thomas


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