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

Maris Federez   •   June 27, 2019   •   1071

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

Drilon, Robredo camp hit Cayetano’s ‘all talk’ remarks

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hit House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for his “totally uncalled for” remarks against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“I am saddened by his statement. Such comments are totally uncalled for, especially coming from the Speaker of the House,” Drilon said in a statement.

Cayetano earlier said that Robredo is “all talk” since her appointment as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

President Rodrigo Duterte last week designated Robredo to co-lead the government’s body against illegal drugs.

Since then, she has been meeting with several groups to float her ideas to address the country’s drug problem, such as scrapping the “Oplan Tokhang” and implementing a health-based anti-drug campaign.

Instead of criticizing Robredo, Drilon said everyone should support the government’s war on drugs and set aside politics.

“It cannot be denied that illegal drug continues to be a problem, notwithstanding the over 5,000 deaths from Operation Tokhang,” he said.

“The gravity of this issue on illegal drugs calls for everyone to set aside politics. In the remaining two and a half years of the administration, we should all work together to solve this problem,” he added.

The senator also noted that even Malacañang has vowed full support for Robredo as she undertakes this task.

“We expect the allies of this administration to do no less,” he added.

Meanwhile, Robredo’s spokesperson and legal counsel, Barry Gutierrez, said the vice president has only begun doing her new task and told Cayetano to stop criticizing if he can’t help her do her job.

Gutierrez also said the entire government should unite to eradicate illegal drugs in the country.

Palace: Duterte to take a 3-day break

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte will be having a three-day break beginning Tuesday (November 12), according to Malacañang.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday (November 11) clarified that it will not be an official leave since the president will still be doing his paperwork. The president will fly home to Davao Monday night.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will be the officer-in-charge of the Executive branch while Duterte rests, according to Panelo

“Well upon the advice of friends, of colleagues, and the world, it seems. And most likely upon the advice of doctors also to take a respite from his punishing schedule,” he said.

Panelo clarified there are no medical concerns that prompted the three-day break.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Cayetano seeks review of National Building Code

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is pushing for a review of the National Building Code after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday in parts of Mindanao (October 29).

“I think it’s about time that we take three drastic steps. Number one, to review the National Building Code,” he said.

House Bill 4008 or the Building Code of 2019 aims to repeal the Presidential Decree 1046 or the National Building Code of the country.

Under the proposed bill, there will be new building standards to reduce the risk of severe damage during calamities like earthquakes. Non-compliance with the said standards can also lead to criminal liability.

In a statement, House Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero said it is high time to change Presidential Decree 1046 because it was passed into law in 1977.

He also said there is poor compliance to the National Building Code.

“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” he said.

The House Bill 4008 will be one of the priority bills to be discussed in the House of Representatives once session resumes on November 4.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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