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Postponing 2019 polls will help Congress finish federalism bill – Speaker Alvarez

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

 

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez believes that postponing the 2019 midterm elections will help the lawmakers to focus more on tackling the proposed constitutional amendment.

Alvarez said the Lower House is facing a tight schedule in the coming weeks because they will have to deliberate on the 2019 Proposed National Budget along with the proposed shift to the federal government.

He also noted that the congressmen will be busy campaigning for the upcoming polls once they file their certificates of candidacy (COC) in October.

“Papaano tayo magka- quorum dito? Anong mangyayari? Syempre magkakampanya na ang mga congs. Election iyan. (Dapat hindi na mag-eleksyon muna?) Kung gugustuhin talaga na matapos ito kasi kailangan mo ng focus diyan,” argued Alvarez.

But Senator Francis Pangilinan disagreed with the House Speaker insisting that the people’s right to suffrage should not be compromised.

Meanwhile, Alvarez stressed that they will continue working on the proposed federalism even without the Senate.

This is because the Senate’s version of the bill is still pending in the committee level.

“Wala naman sinasabi na magcoconvene kami into constituent assembly. Three-fourth vote of all its members. Congress may propose. Hindi ito iyong parang batas na inaaprubahan mo. Proposal lang ito for the people to agree,” he added.

Earlier today, the members of the consultative committee tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 constitution submitted a copy of their proposed federal charter to the house leaders.

However, solons are yet to tackle the content of the proposal.

House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas also clarified that only Congress has the power to propose amendments in the Constitution.

“Alam naman nila na ang kanila is just recommendatory. They are only advisory and I hope that we can make that very clear to the public,” Fariñas concluded. – Grace Casin

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Comelec campaigns to remove doubts on automated elections

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants to employ concrete security features that will further protect the automation system of the 2019 midterm elections.

This is the priority of the agency cited by Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo during the Senate hearing at his confirmation by the Commission on Appointment (CA) on Wednesday (August 15).

Casquejo said they want to remove doubts on poll automation process cast by allegations of irregularities in the 2016 election that recently surfaced.

One of the measures that the poll body plans to impose would be the use of the board of election inspector’s digital signature to limit the number of persons transmitting the votes.

“That is to make sure the one transmitting from precinct level going to canvassing level would be the BEI itself who transmits the result because of the presence of the digital signature,” Casquejo said.

Comelec also plans to require additional details from voters which will appear in the voter’s receipt. Likewise, the agency will put QR codes in each official ballot to immediately identify its origin.

A public viewing of the source code review is also being considered. The source code serves as the blueprint of the vote counting machines and by opening the process to the public, defects and problems in functionalities of the machines will be easily identified.

The Comelec said that even without the controversial exposé of election fraud accuser Atty. Glenn Chong, the said measures are essential in an automated election.

“Nag-i-improve ang teknolohiya so every elections iyan, independently of the allegations of Mr Chong,” explained Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez.

Jimenez said the poll body is now scrutinizing the documents presented by Chong allegedly proving irregularities in the 2016 election.

“Kailangan ibangga yung dokumento niya duon sa alam natin na authentic na dokumento,” he concluded. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

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Fiscal risks of federalism delays cha-cha

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Senate has maintained that deliberations on the proposed federal charter will not be rushed despite calls from the Lower House to fast track discussions.

According to Senate committee on constitutional amendments chairman Francis Pangilinan, there are several questions to be addressed in the campaign for charter change.

These include the warnings of the Duterte administration’s economic managers on the possible threats of federalism on the country’s economy.

“Hindi biro ang usapin ng charter change na dapat magkaroon na ng charter change dahil baka ang maging resulta nito ay man-made calamity, both political and economic disaster,” said Pangilinan.

At the Senate hearing on Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez cited the possible fiscal risks of implementing the proposed federal charter.

He said country’s investment-grade credit ratings of the country which allows the country to borrow money with lower interest rates “will go to hell” if the proposed shift to a federal government pushes through.

According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), a total of P120 billion is needed by the government to make the shift.

Due to the issues raised, senators urge for more serious discussions on the matter.

“Bakit hindi na lang after May 2019 na mag-ConCon para magkaroon ng separate na halalan para mabusisi ng husto ang revision ng ating Saligang Batas,” said Pangilinan.

Until now, senators have yet to decide on how to amend or revise the Constitution despite its progress in the lower chamber. — Nel Maribojoc

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Mocha Uson lambasted over ‘foul’ federalism video

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2018

Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson (left) with blogger, Drew Olivar (Image grabbed from Mocha Uson official FB page)

 

MANILA, Philippines – Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson drew the public’s ire for a controversial video on federalism.

Uson and a friend, blogger Drew Olivar, were shown laughing while Olivar was singing and dancing lewdly to a song with the lyrics: “I-pepe, i-pepe, i-dede, i-dede, i-pepe-pepe-pepederalismo,” supposedly to promote the country’s shift to a federal form of government.

Senator Francis Pangilinan in a tweet said the administration should accost Uson for “disrespecting” federalism, a cause that the Duterte administration is strongly advocating.

He also called on Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to explain why he is allowing such actions under his office.

Senator Koko Pimentel said he was disappointed at  having Uson in the said campaign as he expected that authorities on the matter such as members of the Consultative Committee would spearhead the federalism drive. He suggests that Uson should keep off the federalism campaign.

“Hindi ko lubos akalain na bababuyin pala nila ang kawsa ng pederalismo. Ilayo si Mocha sa pederalismo. Magaral muna siya ng mabuti. Mag-leave muna siya.

He also slammed the Assistant Secretary for the wrongful content of the supposed campaign material.

In a script reading, Olivar mentioned countries such as the US, France and Singapore as among those under a federal form of government. Among the three, US is the only one using a federal form of government. France, however, is under a unitary semi‑presidential constitutional republic while Singapore is under a parliamentary republic.

Meanwhile, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay claimed that the government is not serious in promoting federalism in using Uson as a chief propagandist. He said that Uson’s action reflects the President’s position as she works for the President.

 

Senator Chiz Escudero said such an attempt to attract the public attention on such an important issue is an act of desperation.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said that what Uson and her friend did could just be a joke. But reacting on the manner it is presented, Sotto said “theatrics” will definitely not work for such a serious topic as federalism. — Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

 

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