Road to Speakership: who to stick with to be House Speaker

Maris Federez   •   June 27, 2019   •   1025

Reps Lord Allan Velasco, Martin Romualdez and Alan Peter Cayetano vying for the Speakership in the House of Representative

The battle for the next House Speaker is still on among these names: Velasco, Romualdez, and Cayetano.

They are all making headlines and are seen to be always with President Rodrigo Duterte and his family in several gatherings.

Taguig Representative-Elect Alan Peter Cayetano had been close to the President for a long time now.

When Cayetano failed to make it in the 2016 Vice Presidential race, the President appointed him as the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

He said he resigned as DFA secretary and ran for Congress in the lone district of Taguig claiming that the President wanted him to be House Speaker.

“Hindi naman ako magre-resign sa DFA na walang plano, na wala kaming napagusapan [I won’t be resigning in DFA if I didn’t have a plan, or if we hadn’t have an agreement],” he said.

The name of Leyte Representative-Elect Martin Romualdez, meanwhile, floated when Hugpong ng Pagbabago Chairperson Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio called him “Speaker” in one campaign rally.

He had always been seen in gatherings where the Duterte siblings were also present.

On Wednesday night (June 26), Romualdez laid down before the President his platform in case he gets to be chosen as House Speaker.

Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, on the other hand, is seen to have taken the lead in the speakership race as the administration party PDP-Laban on Wednesday endorsed him for the job.

He’s also been seen with Mayor Sara Duterte since the campaign period and in several occasions.

Meanwhile, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez had been trailing behind the three in the race.

It can be recalled that Alvares had been removed as House Speaker in the 17th Congress for allegedly making statements against the Chief Executive.

Mayor Sara was allegedly behind the ouster of Alvarez that happened on the very day of the 2018 SONA. (with reports from Grace Casin) /mbmf

Duterte orders stricter road safety checks after South Cotabato mishap

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered stricter implementation of road safety checks after a private truck fell into a ravine in South Cotabato on Tuesday (September 17).

Based on reports, 21 people were killed while 14 others were injured due to the South Cotabato mishap.

According to the Department of Transportation (Dotr), officials from several departments had a meeting with the president on Wednesday (September 18).

The chief executive has ordered to intensify roadworthiness checks, improve driver’s licensing requirements, periodic drug testing, and financial capability checks for operators.

“The chief executive pushed for the urgent nationwide implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) to improve the level of safety and security of passengers,” the Dotr said in a statement on Facebook.

Duterte has also emphasized that private vehicles used beyond their legitimate purpose should be banned.

Vehicles should also have proper road safety equipment and facilities while operators who do not have the financial capability for safety improvements should cease to operate.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the department will improve on road safety through various programs including Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

“Ilang buhay na naman ‘ho ang nawala sa atin. Itigil na ang kawalan ng disiplina. Itigil na ang pagiging pabaya sa kalsada. Sa utos ng ating Pangulo, sisikapin naming masiguro na tanging mga roadworthy vehicles lang ang bibiyahe sa kalsada, at lahat ng driver ay may sapat na kaalaman at disiplina sa pagmamaneho, (Several lives have already been lost. Let us stop the lack of discipline. Stop recklessness on the road. According to our President’s order, let us strive to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles should operate and all drivers should have discipline in driving),” Tugade said.—AAC

‘Tracker team’ all set for deployment as Duterte’s surrender deadline for heinous crime convicts passes

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s surrender deadline for heinous crime convicts freed through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) will be until midnight of Thursday (September 19).

After which, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy its tracker team to chase those who refuse to yield to the President’s call.

According to National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) Chief Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, out of 1,914 heinous crime convicts released under GCTA, a total of 202 reside in Metro Manila.

From that number, only 26 surrendered.

Therefore, a total 176 convicts remain at large and they are the target of the NCRPO’s tracker team.

“All the tracker teams natin of the 176 targets in Metro Manila, they will start their manhunt at 12 o’ clock. They are distributed in the 26 police station,” Eleazar said.

“Within 6 hours from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock all the 176 addresses, lahat iyon ay pupuntahan ng tracker teams natin, (They will all be chased by our tracker teams,)” he added.

Eleazar said they want to arrest their targets alive as much as possible.

“We want to get them alive, but kung mayroong (but in the event of) aggressive behavior on their part, of course, we have to defend ourselves,” he explained.

The official warned to file appropriate charges against those convicts who would refuse arrest.

Earlier today, four convicts surrendered to the NCRPO though their names were not included in the list of GCTA-freed convicts of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

All they wanted, they said, was to make sure their lives are safe.

They are now under the custody of the BuCor. – MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte certifies passage of 2020 national budget as urgent

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget as urgent.

According to his letter dated September 17 addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives, he wants the immediate passage of the proposed national budget to “maintain continuous government operations.”

“Ensure the budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate,” the letter stated.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president certified the proposed 2020 national budget as urgent to avoid a repetition of last year’s delay which affected several economic programs of the administration.

“He [Duterte] wants the members of Congress [to know] the importance of passing the budget on time to avoid a repeat of last year’s delay of its passage that wreak havoc in the economic program of the administration, and affected the delivery of basic services to the people,” he said in a statement.—AAC

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