MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other lawmakers and staff who physically attended the House of Representatives’ special session last Monday will go on self-quarantine after ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Yap Go confirmed he contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Yap earlier revealed that he attended the special session on March 23 at the Batasan Pambansa while his coronavirus test results were still pending. He, however, stressed that he took safety precautions as he became paranoid about his mild cough.
At least 20 lawmakers were physically present at the special session, including House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Representatives France Castro, Edgar Sarmiento, Mikey Arroyo, Sharky Palma, Precious Castelo, and Janette Garin, Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu, LRay Villafuerte, Robbie Puno, and Dong Gonzales, Representatives Bong Suntay, Jon Jalosjos, Manny Lopez, Tonypet Albano, Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Mike Defensor, Blu Abaya, Bambol Tolentino, Cayetano, and Yap.
The said lawmakers confirmed they will work from home during their self-quarantine.
MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who chairs the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) blasted the removal of Davao City Third District Representative Isidro Ungab as head of the House Committee on Appropriations in the lower chamber’s major shake-up on Monday.
In a statement on Tuesday, Duterte-Carpio said the HNP “strongly condemns” Ungab’s removal from the key House post, calling it “grossly unacceptable” and “disadvantageous” to the reform agenda being pushed by the Duterte government.
“For HNP, the ouster of Ungab was grossly unacceptable as it is disadvantageous to the Duterte administration’s reform agenda for the Filipino people and the country,” she said.
Also booted out from post is Oriental Mindoro Representative Paulino Salvador “Doy” Leachon as head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said Ungab and Leachon were removed from their posts because they were “more interested in funds and intrigues” than working with him.
The shake-up follows Cayetano’s accusations against Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco of attempting to stage a coup to grab the top House post.
Velasco has denied the allegation.
Duterte-Carpio said Ungab is a good soldier of the President who did his job with pride and principle.
She, however, denied any personal knowledge on the alleged coup attempt.
Meanwhile, Leachon claimed that Cayetano’s move was just a smokescreen of his alleged intention of not honoring the term-sharing agreement with Velasco as brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“You’ve been telling that there was a coup in order to, as I said it was a smokescreen para pagtaguan ang tunay na dahilan na gusto mo magtagal sa position para diridiretso ang enjoyment ng kasamahan or ikaw partikular ka sa iyong probinsya to the detriment of other members,” he said.
It can be recalled that in July 2019, Duterte brokered a “15-21” term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco to settle the conflict in the then-House speakership race.
Under the deal, Cayetano will serve the first 15 months while Velasco will serve the remaining 21 months of the three-year term. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign the 2020 national budget in the first week of January, the Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president is still scrutinizing the budget proposal to ensure that the spending bill does not contain any unconstitutional items.
The Palace official also assured that the chief executive will thoroughly study the budget bill before affixing his signature following Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that the House of Representatives made some realignment before the 2020 budget was signed by the Congressional bicameral conference committee.
“When somebody says it’s unconstitutional, it doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional. This president is a lawyer, he knows what is unconstitutional or not, so he decides for himself,” Panelo told reporters.
Duterte earlier signed into law a measure extending the validity of the 2019 national budget until December 31, 2020.
The measure will allow government agencies to spend this year’s fund, particularly for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) until the end of next year.
This aims to address the government’s need for budget after the delay in the passage of the 2019 National Budget and the implementation of the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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