PDP-Laban endorses Velasco as House Speaker bet

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 26, 2019   •   1554

Lord Allan Velasco

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has endorsed Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as speaker of the House of Representatives.

Senator Manny Pacquiao announced Wednesday morning (June 26) that they signed a manifesto of support for Velasco as House Speaker.

“I am therefore announcing  the endorsement of support of PDP laban of Congressman Lord Allan Velasco as speaker of the House of Representatives in the whole term of 18th Congress,” he said.

The senator clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte was not involved in choosing their candidate for the position.

PDP-Laban’s Executive Vice President Congressman Aurelio Dong Gonzales said they finalized the manifesto on June 23, with 60 out of the 84 members signing.

Meanwhile, Velasco is humbled by the endorsement of PDP-Laban. In a statement, he said the endorsement inspired him to work harder

“If elected speaker of the 18th Congress as representative of the single most dominant party in Congress and the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte, I assure them that I will remain a consultative and a listening leader, who welcomes his fellow lawmakers regardless of their political colors and affiliations,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

Duterte meets with House speakership rivals

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting with speakership rivals, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco at Malacañan Palace.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte met with speakership rivals, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco at Malacañang on Tuesday night (September 29).

The two lawmakers were joined by some of their supporters during the meeting.

There were no details revealed as to what transpired in their discussion with the President. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President hopes that the two lawmakers will settle the matter regarding their term-sharing agreement.

But the President, Roque said, is leaving the issue to the members of the House of Representatives, noting that the President cannot do anything if Cayetano gets more votes than Velasco. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Cayetano suggests hiring financial forensic experts to investigate corruptions in gov’t agencies

Marje Pelayo   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano suggests hiring of financial forensic experts to help investigate irregularities in government transactions and to hold accountable any official involved in corruption. 

Dahil pagdating sa paper trail na at sa white collar na type of crimes, what we need is not the street type of investigators pero yun nga yung mga forensic, financial forensic,” Cayetano said.

[Because when it comes to the paper trail and white-collar type of crimes, what we need is not the street type of investigators but those who are financial forensics.]

This was his proposal in relation to the Senate and the House of Representatives’ hearing on the alleged corruption inside the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“I’m a little bit concerned that if it can happen to PhilHealth, what about the other government financial institutions who obviously get billions or hundreds of billions in budget. We have to have an effective watchdog,” the House Speaker noted.

Cayetano assures the support of Congress when it comes to the budget that will be needed should the Commision on Audit (COA) and the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) decide to hire such experts.

The said financial forensic experts will not concentrate on PhilHealth alone but to other agencies and departments in the government.

Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo, meanwhile, expressed her agreement to Cayetano’s proposal saying these experts will be a big help in scrutinizing important documents that can be used as evidence to unveil widespread corruption in a specific government agency. 

“Agree po fully kay Speaker. Importanteng malaman ang [I fully agree with the Speaker. It’s important that we determine the] extent and patterns of fraud through the financial records,” she explained.

“This will facilitate investigation and evidence gathering in a systemic way. Otherwise, piecemeal ang approach. The financial forensics will show kung talamak ang fraud,” she added.

READ: Duterte wants probe on alleged PhilHealth anomaly

State insurer PhilHealth is currently in hot water after reports of alleged corruption among its executives particularly the ‘overpriced’ IT equipment and projects. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Sara Duterte hits ally’s ‘grossly unacceptable’ ouster from key House post

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

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)

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