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PDP-Laban appoints Pampanga Rep. Gonzales as party’s National Executive VP

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

(L-R) Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. and Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Monday announced the appointment of Pampanga third district Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. as the ruling party’s Interim National Executive Vice President.

Gonzales was appointed to his new role by PDP-Laban president and re-elected Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.

His appointment paper was signed on June 13 but was only released to the media on Monday (June 17).

Gonzales previously served as PDP-Laban’s regional president for Central Luzon.

He has been reported as one of the lawmakers being considered by the ruling party to be its candidate for the House Speakership post in the 18th Congress.

Other contenders include Davao del Norte Representative and former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

The PDP-Laban has yet to announce the name of its official bet for the speakership race.

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Speakership bets Cayetano, Romualdez, Velasco meet with PDP-Laban

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

(L-R) Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco , Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez | Courtesy: Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – Three lawmakers gunning for the speakership of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress met on Thursday night with some members of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.

Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez met with PDP-Laban in Taguig to discuss the forthcoming opening of the 18th Congress and the measures that need to be prioritized.

Cayetano also talked about his programs that will help the Duterte administration’s legislative agenda, as well as his plan to push for full debates on significant issues that will affect the welfare of the Filipino people.

They also discussed the term-sharing set-up between Cayetano and Velasco as House speakers endorsed by the party’s chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

PDP-Laban president, Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel earlier said Cayetano still needs to work on getting the speakership post despite Duterte’s endorsement.

READ: Cayetano has to work for House speakership – Koko Pimentel

He added that Cayetano still has to convince House members to vote for him, including the 85 solons belonging to the ruling party.

Prior to the president’s endorsement of the speakership term-sharing scheme, the PDP-Laban fielded Velasco as its bet for the post.  

Cayetano is a member of the Nacionalista party while Velasco is a PDP-Laban member while Romualdez is with Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats.

Romualdez earlier said he dropped from the speakership race and accepted the House Majority Leader job as suggested by the president. (with details from Grace Casin)

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House closely working with intel units for Duterte’s 4th SONA security

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Joint Session of the 17th Congress at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives Complex in Constitution Hills, Quezon City on July 23, 2018.
(Image courtesy of PCOO/KARL NORMAN ALONZO)

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Thursday said it is closely working with government intelligence agencies for the security of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Retired Major General Romeo Prestoza said they are directly coordinating with relevant intelligence units to evaluate any risks to the House or President Duterte during the SONA.

He said the increased security follows the recent bombings that rocked Sulu in Mindanao.

“Well part of it kasi, sa experience ko kasi I’ve been an intelligence officer for 27 years, those things talagang kinoconsider namin. Hindi namin pinapabayaan, tinitingnan namin,” Prestoza said in a press briefing about the SONA 2019 preparations.

“That’s why we initiate ‘yung direct na contact with the NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), ISAFP (Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other intelligence units to see kung meron talagang connection or possibility na umabot dito,” he added.

However, Prestoza assured they have yet to see substantial security threats to the upcoming SONA, which Duterte will deliver at the Batasang Pambansa.

“When it comes to security threats, wala pa namang substantial, meaning talagang wala pang nakarating na actual na threat,” he said.

He also emphasized that the House security is prepared and well-equipped to handle security issues.

“We have extensive training and seminars to include simulation exercises and tabletop exercises para in case na meron nga, we would be prepared. Even ‘yung protocols, when it comes to emergencies ginagawa din namin,” Prestoza said.

When it comes to directing signal jammers on SONA day, Prestoza said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) shall be responsible for it based on their assessment of the proceedings.

“Kung kailangan nila or they feel they need to initiate na the jamming procedure, sila makakapag-dictate noon. I cannot dictate it,” he said.

In the same press briefing, House Acting Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling said that preparation activities for SONA remain on track and are the same as in previous years.

“Basically, the preparation has been the same through the years except siguro for very minor details, mga maliliit na arrangements lang. It doesn’t really deviate from what has been happening from the past years,” Maling said.

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Cayetano has to work for House speakership – Koko Pimentel

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

(L-R) Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel on Thursday said Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano still needs to work on getting the House speakership post despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement of a term-sharing deal between Congressmen Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco.

“Advantage siya ngayon with the statement of the President. Swerte nga niya eh. He has the advantage but not an assurance — he still has to work for it,” Pimentel told reporters in a Senate press briefing.

He said Cayetano still needs to convince House members to vote for him on July 22 when the regular session of the 18th Congress opens.

“Sa July 22, para hindi siya magulat, he has to make sure kumbinsido na ang lahat. Majority or plurality to vote for him as House speaker,” he said.

Pimentel added that among the lawmakers that Cayetano needs to convince are the 85 members of the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Pimentel is the current president of the ruling party while President Duterte serves as its chairman.

The PDP-Laban earlier fielded Velasco as its bet for speakership.

According to Pimentel, PDP-Laban representatives are set to meet with Cayetano on Thursday night to discuss matters, including committee chairmanships.

Pimentel said the meeting is important for Cayetano to get the party’s support.

Cayetano is a member of the Nacionalista party.

“He cannot sit as House Speaker without the support of the PDP-Laban,” Pimentel said.

The lawmaker also reiterated they are abiding with the president’s decision to endorse a term-sharing set-up between Cayetano and Velasco, with the former serving first in 15 months to be succeeded by the latter in the remaining 21 months of the term.

They initially wanted Velasco to serve first before Cayetano.

Meanwhile, Pimentel said it was theoretically possible for members of the House of Representatives not to heed the president’s endorsement of Cayetano as speaker when they vote for their leader on July 22.

This was his comment on Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte’s hint that solons might launch a coup and vote for their personal choice.

“Basta theoretically, everything is possible kasi basta’t collegial body ganun naman talaga eh,” he said. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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