Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

REPASO 2018: The year of power struggle: Who’s in, who’s out?

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 31 December 2018 04:47 PM

(L-R) House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Ousted Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Tension filled the House of Representatives hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s third state of the nation address (SONA) on July 23.

Several members of the House wanted the ouster of then House Speaker and Davao Del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez to give way to Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Later on, the microphones at the podium went off preventing Arroyo allies to speak. The HOR’s mace or the official seal was also nowhere to be found.

But nothing could stop the pro-Arroyo lawmakers as they held their own voting and elected Arroyo as the new Speaker of the House.

The commotion delayed the President’s SONA for an hour tagging Arroyo as ‘scene-stealer’ and ‘attention grabber’.

The President’s SONA went on with Alvarez still the House Speaker alongside the Senate President at the podium.

The SONA went smooth as if nothing happened but after the President left the Lower House, over 200 congressmen resumed an extended session to formalize the voting.

184 congressmen voted ‘yes’ to Arroyo while 12 abstained.

“There are no rules being followed, walang saysay ito,” argued Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Minutes later, Arroyo sworn into office.

 

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (right, wearing pink) being sworn into office by Ang Kabuhayan Rep. Dennis Laogan

But the drama did not end there because what followed next was dubbed as the ‘House Minority squabble’.

Most members of the House opposed Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez to be the House Minority leader as he was among the ‘front runners’ of the Arroyo-for-Speaker move.

“This will be a clear culpable grave abuse of discretion on the part of the leadership of the house to recognize Danny Suarez as a minority leader because it would be and admission by the leadership that they conspired with the minority to over throw Alvarez,” argued then House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Rudy Fariñas during the House chaos on July 23.

“Kapag ang pumili at bumasbas sa minority ay majority, ano ang maaasahan natin dito hindi tunay na oposisyon. Sabi nga company union,” said ACT Teachers Party list Rep. Antonio Tinio on August 7.

“We need to take it to the Supreme Court para may stability rin para sa House. Nakakahiya para sa ating kongreso na ang minority leader ay in-appoint ng majority,” argued Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo on August 7.

But in the end, Suarez prevailed and the House leadership approved him as the House Minority Leader.

Arroyo allies were criticized for being ‘power grabber.’

“Nakakahiya na pinapakita natin sa lahat na iyong pag-wrestle ng power, parang in full public view,” expressed Vice President Leni Robredo.

But still, the lawmakers maintained that Arroyo’s and Suarez’s position were in accordance with the law.

“There is nothing to correct we stand by our position that the proceedings yesterday were valid, legal and binding, period,” maintained Former Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles on July 24.

After a week, Arroyo and Alvarez had a one-on-one talk to iron out things between them. Arroyo, however, refused to give details on what transpired in the meeting.

When asked about the alleged power struggle, Alvarez said he already moved on.

“Okay naman ako sinabi ko nga ako the pain lasted for only 24 hours after that wala na,” he said in an interview on August 2.

Malacañang, meanwhile, clarified that President Duterte has nothing to do with the squabble in the HOR as the decision has been made purely by the congressmen.

Similar to the Lower House, the Senate of the Philippines also made a sudden turnover of leadership.

Sixteen senators voted to name Senator Vicente Sotto III as the new Senate President in lieu of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.

In an unusual move, Senator Pimentel himself nominated Sotto for the position.

Pimentel said he decided to step down to prepare for his bid in the 2019 elections but reports said the main reason was Pimentel’s inaction on some priority bills such as the Duterte administration’s tax reform and the revival of death penalty.

On December 11, the Lower House passed the proposed Charter change but the Senate remains cold on the matter.

The Supreme Court also had its twists and turn when former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted via quo warranto plea filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Calida argued that Sereno failed to submit her Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) required of a government official. Without this, Calida m, Sereno’s appointment as chief justice was invalid.

Eight magistrates voted for Sereno’s ouster while six opposed.

Justice Teresita De Castro took over the SC and was named the first (official) woman and the shortest serving chief justice in the country.

De Castro retired after six months in office and was replaced by Justice Lucas Bersamin. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

Tags: , , , ,

Duterte denies Bacolod mayor’s involvement in illegal drugs

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 12:33 PM

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia | Photo from Mayor Leonardia’s Facebook page

President Rodrigo Duterte denies the involvement of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia in illegal drugs.

A video was posted on the president’s Facebook page, where he reiterated his support for Leonardia and his candidacy.

He also called out former Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella to stop splicing videos just to discredit Leonardia.

“But I want to tell mga taga Bacolod, wala akong sinabi about diyan. But kung tanuning ninyo kung sino para sa akin, I do not want a guy na making a fraud sa lahat ng sinasabi ko, (I did not say anything about the matter. But if you are going to ask me, I do not want a guy making a fraud out of everything I say.)” the president said.—Aileen Cerrudo

Tags: ,

Senate, House to thresh out rift on 2019 budget

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 09:55 PM

The members of the Senate Committee on Finance and its counterpart in the House of Representatives will hold a meeting on Monday (March 25) to iron out their disagreements on the 2019 Proposed National Budget.

This, after the House retrieved the enrolled version of the budget from the Senate.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III believes this is a good indication to thresh out the issue on the budget.

“I’m glad that they have retrieved it. There is a possibility that we can bring it back to the original state of the budget when we ratified it,” Sotto added.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr, however, clarified that the physical retrieval of the enrolled budget doesn’t necessarily mean that they have wavered from their earlier stand.

“We maintain that the House did nothing unconstitutional, illegal or irregular when we approved and ratified the 2019 GAB in plenary session,” stressed Andaya.

It can be recalled that Senator Panfilo Lacson has alleged that the House leadership has realigned around 95-Billion pesos from the 37-Trillion-peso 2019 budget which was purportedly given to several members of the House.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said that the falling out between the Senate and the House on the proposed budget has left a snag on the implementation of their infrastructure projects.

Anna Mae Lamentillo, the Head of the Build, Build, Build Committee of the DPWH, said that despite this setback, the department is doing its best to make sure that the implementation of the projects that are already funded will not be affected by the budget problem. – Maris Federez

Tags: , ,

Duterte signs Philippine Occupational Therapy Law

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 07:51 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act 11241 or Philippine Occupational Therapy Law which will regulate the practice of occupational therapy in the country.

Duterte signed it on March 11 and was released to the media on Tuesday.

Under the said law, there will be a Board of Occupational Therapy under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

This board will supervise and regulate the registration, license and practice of occupational therapy in the country.

“It shall develop and nurture competent, virtuous, productive and well-rounded occupational therapists whose standards of practice shall be excellent, world class and globally competitive through inviolable, honest, effective and credible licensure examinations and through regulatory measures, programs and activities that foster their continuing professional growth,” the law states.

There will also be a license examination which will be open to Filipino and foreign occupational therapists. Passers will have to meet the requirement of 75% general average with no grade lower than 60% in any subject.

Occupational therapists treat patients patients that have physical, sensory, or cognitive disability. They help develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.—Aileen Cerrudo

Tags: , , ,