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Pulse Asia survey shows 14 party-list groups getting House seats

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2019

House of Representatives of the Philippines

Fourteen party-list groups are assured of at least one seat each in the House of Representatives, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.

Of the 134 party-list groups accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), 14 managed to each get two percent support from voters, which will automatically give them one seat at the House in the first round of seat allocation. This is based on the February 2017 Supreme Court decision.

A total of 59 seats are reserved for party-list representatives in the May elections.

Five party-list groups each garnered the maximum three seats in the House: Bayan Muna, Magsasaka, Gabriela Women’s Party, Ako Bicol, and A Teacher.

Other party-list groups which are assured of at least one seat are: Senior Citizens, Buhay, Akbayan, Amin, An Waray, Kalinga, Anakpawis, Cibac and Angkla.

The survey also showed 74 percent of 1,800 respondents are aware of the party-list system across all areas: Metro Manila (74%), Luzon (79%), and Mindanao (77%), Visayas (57%); and socioeconomic classes: Class ABC (86%) and Class E (62%).

The nationwide poll was done on March 23 to 27, using face-to-face interviews.  –Maris Federez

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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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Duterte: I don’t want to interfere in House affairs

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that he does not want to interfere with the affairs of the legislative branch but had to step in to end the impasse on the House Speakership.

“Nobody was sure to vote for whom, and they kept on asking who is the president’s candidate. So I shied away and said, no, if you can resolve the matter comfortably between you, do it,” he said. “I hate to intrude. But apparently, considering what happened in the last few days, and malapit na ang session (the opening of session is already near), I said… it’s time for me to talk.”

Duterte announced term-sharing between Taguig City representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque representative Lord Allan Velasco as House speakers.

The chief executive made the announcement on Monday (July 9) during the oath-taking of new presidential appointees.

“Your Speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano. He shares the term with Lord Velasco,” he said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, Cayetano will lead the House for the first 15 months, while Velasco will take over in the next 21 months.

“[In] the next 21 months, the Speaker will be Lord Allan Velasco, with Martin Romualdez as the majority leader,” he said.—AAC

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Youth groups stage protest vs Cardema’s congressional bid as Duterte Youth rep

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Youth groups congregated in front of the office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to protest against the congressional bid of former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema under the Duterte Youth party list.

Kabataan Partylist, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny and other youth groups voiced their opposition to Cardema’s bid and appeal to Comelec to junk the former official’s petition for a seat in Congress.

This, they say, will give Comelec the opportunity to prove that the last election was indeed fraud-free.

The group stressed that Cardema is not qualified to represent a youth group.

Comelec commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Luie Tito Guia had earlier stated Cardema cannot take a seat in Congress under the Duterte Youth party list for several grounds:

  1. that Cardema was not able to comply with the submission of documents when the Duterte Youth filed their Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA); and
  2. that Cardema already past the age requirement of 30 for a youth representative

Comelec is yet to come up with a final decision. (with reports from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

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