Senators urge House to show fairness in handling impeachment case vs Duterte

admin   •   March 17, 2017   •   4044

FILE PHOTO: Members of the House of Representatives attend the opening session of the 17th Congress to cast votes for their new leaders. Kenji Hasegawa/Photoville International)

FILE PHOTO: Members of the House of Representatives attend the opening session of the 17th Congress to cast votes for their new leaders. (Kenji Hasegawa/Photoville International)

The House of Representatives is being urged to show impartiality and fairness in handling the impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Constitution defines Congress as an independent branch of the government.

It is co-equal to the Executive and the Legislative branches and is expected to perform check and balances against the two other branches.

Hence, some senators, being members of the Congress, urge their twin chamber — the House of Representatives, to show their impartiality in handling the impeachment complaint filed against the President.

“Bilang sila ang kambal na house namin sa kongreso ng Pilipinas,  I am hoping na ano man ang nangyari sa House of Representatives, both good and not good, katulad dito sa Senado, ay hoping na they will rise to the challenge ng fair na paghusga sa merito ng impeachment complaint at inaasahan ko ang maayos nila na aksyon sa prosesong iyan,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros.

(As the Senate’s twin house in Congress, I am hoping that whatever happened in the House of Representatives, both good and not good, like in the Senate, they will rise to the challenge of being fair in judging the merits of the impeachment complaint. I trust their appropriate action on the process.)

The lady senator also hopes that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez can still prove his fairness in the process, even if he earlier tagged the impeachment complaint as something “stupid”.

“Kahit si Speaker naman po ay isang boto sa House of Representatives at isang boto bilang ex oficio member sa kanilang sa committee on justice, so kahit sinabi nila iyon ay inaasahan ko pa rin ang maayos at makatwirang pagkilos ni Speaker sa impeachment complaint na ito,” Hontiveros added.

(Even Speaker is one vote in the House of Representatives and one vote as ex oficio member of committee on justice. Even though he said that, I’m still counting on the appropriate and just actions of the Speaker in this impeachment complaint.)

Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan said, whether or not they agree with the complaint against the President, lawmakers should respect the impeachment process as afforded by the Constitution.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said “good luck” to the Magdalo Partylist and cited that in order to convict the President, 1/3 votes from House, and 16 votes from Senate will be needed.

Minority Senator Bam Aquino said it is the right of every Filipino to utilize processes under the law to demand accountability of government officials.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, however, maintains that Congress, which will stand as impeachment court, should evaluate carefully the merits of the complaint.

“Puno’t dulo naman ay ebidensya eh, kung paano mo ito patunayan sa Kongreso being fiscal of impeachment case. What happens here iyong Kongreso titingnan ang mga ebidensya, titingnan iyong complaint, at titingnan kung may basis iyong complaint,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.

(Ultimately it’s about the evidence; how you are going to prove it in Congress as the fiscal of the impeachment case. What happens here, Congress will examine the evidence, the complaint and will evaluate if the complaint has basis.)

While some senators refused to comment, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito insists the filing of the complaint is not timely, as the country cannot move forward with ouster moves like these.

Magdalo Partylist Senator Antonio Trillanes, on the other hand, welcomes and supports the filing, and said it is the last venue for the President to finally face allegations against him. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

House solon wants charter change proposals shelved ‘indefinitely’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2020

Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday said he will propose the suspension of deliberations on the controversial charter change (Cha-Cha) proposals amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said he is inclined to recommend to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to “shelve Cha-Cha indefinitely” to focus on discussing measures to address the public health crisis and help the Filipino people prepare for the ‘new normal’.

The lawmaker made the proposal following claims that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other advocates initiated moves to gather up to two million signatures in support of Cha-Cha.

“This is not the time for the DILG and its allies to relaunch their signature drive and renew their push for Cha-cha. They should postpone it until this health crisis is over,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“So my message to Cha-cha advocates and their DILG patrons is: stop it, it won’t fly while there is a pandemic,” he added.

Rodriguez said pushing for Cha-Cha can wait as Congress will first have to attend to measures that will “save lives and the livelihood of our people.”

The DILG earlier denied it has launched a signature campaign for Cha-Cha, branding these reports as fake news. RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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