Solon: Duterte expected to bare House Speaker bet on June 28

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2019   •   1615

President Rodrigo Duterte during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | RTVM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may reveal his preferred candidate for the speakership post in the House of Representatives on June 28, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Masbate Representative-elect Wilcon Kho said Duterte announced this during a dinner meeting with several congressmen at Malacañang on Tuesday night.

“Ang sabi ni Presidente, hintayin na lang namin ang June 28 para sa desisyon… may pinapahiwatig siya na iniendorso pero hintayin na lang natin sa 28,” Kho told reporters in a chance interview.

Five congressmen have expressed interest in gunning for the top post in the Lower House, namely Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig City Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, Pampanga Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

Romualdez, Velasco and Cayetano earlier met with Duterte during his official visit to Japan to ask for the president’s endorsement. The chief executive has yet to pick a candidate although he earlier said he will be neutral on the issue.

Cayetano earlier said he is open to sharing a term with Velasco and that the arrangement has been mentioned by the president himself during their meeting in Japan.

READ: Cayetano open to House Speakership term-sharing

Velasco, however, rejected the idea.

Velasco and Gonzales were among the attendees at Tuesday’s dinner meeting with Duterte’s son, Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte.

Kho said that during the meeting, Velasco also laid out his legislative agenda should he be voted as the next speaker when the 18th Congress opens in July.

The neophyte congressman, however, clarified that it is still up to the solons to decide who to vote for the speakership post.

Meanwhile, Velasco thanked the chief executive for joining the dinner reception to welcome the 124 neophyte congressmen in an aim to “foster camaraderie among the incoming members of the 18th Congress to work harmoniously and forward our legislative agenda.” (with details from Grace Casin)

Yulo, Petecio other athletes to meet with Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 15, 2019

(L-R) Pole vaulter John Ernest Obiena, boxer Eumir Marcial, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio

Filipino athletes including gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio will meet President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (October 16), according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“They will be meeting with the President. They will have a courtesy call,” Panelo said during the press briefing on Tuesday (October 15).

Yulo has won the gold medal in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship while Petecio clinched the gold in the Women’s World Boxing Championship featherweight division.

John Ernest Obiena, the first Filipino to qualify in the 2020 Olympics, will also meet the president. Boxer Eumir Marcial will also join the three athletes in the courtesy call on Wednesday.—AAC

Duterte to review nuclear energy deal with Russian firm

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a review of the nuclear energy agreement with a Russian firm, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement after the 42nd Cabinet Meeting in Malacañang Friday (October 11) evening, Panelo said the president wants to study the proposal first.

Duterte had previously expressed his sentiment after arriving from Moscow on October 6.

“The Constitution does not (allow it). It is prohibited. That is why I have to talk to the Cabinet,” Duterte said. “The hard-line would come after I have consulted with everybody concerned, including people of the industry affected.”

According to Panelo, Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has clarified that the memorandum signed by the president during his state visit in Russia was only a framework for discussion.

READ: Gatchalian on nuke energy deals: Take extra precautionary measures

“The DOE reiterated that the Memorandum of Intent signed last October 4, 2019, was a framework for discussion and not for a particular construction of a small modular reactor (SMR). The President wanted to study first the proposal,” he said.

Panelo added that Cusi and DOE Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza discussed the proposed nuclear energy deal with a company in Russia.

READ: Duterte returns from Russia with P620M worth of business deals

During his state visit in Russia, Duterte has signed a memorandum of intent with Russia on the exploration of possible cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Gatchalian on nuke energy deals: Take extra precautionary measures

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2019

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has advised taking extra precautionary measures in entering into nuclear power deals, in relation to the signed nuclear power agreement between the Philippines and Russia.

On Monday (October 7), Gatchalian expressed concern over the said deal since the Constitution does not have enough laws that promote nuclear power in the country.

“Kailangan ng maraming batas, for example nuclear safety. Kailangan din ng batas paano i-transport itong mga nuclear waste, saan itatago iyong nuclear waste. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, kulang pa tayo sa framework,” he said.

(We need a lot of laws, for example, on nuclear safety. A law is also needed in transporting nuclear waste and where will the nuclear waste be kept. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, we still lack framework.)

The senator also said there is a huge risk in investing in nuclear power plants especially during disasters.

However, Gatchalian said he is still open to studying the use of nuclear power plants in the country.

“Iyong technology for power nagiging mas mura, magiging mas advanced, so pwede natin pag-aralan. But for now ang importante mayroon tayong mga safeguards, batas, nag mag-reregulate nitong nuclear power,” he said.

(The technology for power will be cheaper and affordable. It will also be more advanced, so we should study it. But for now, what’s important is having safeguards, and laws that will regulate nuclear power.)

He also clarified that nuclear energy is allowed in the Constitution but not nuclear weapons.—AAC

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