Solons urge Duterte anew to pick House speaker bet

Robie de Guzman   •   July 4, 2019   •   1087

Courtesy : PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – Some Congressmen on Thursday (July 4) urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his position not to endorse a candidate for Speaker amid bickering among members of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress.

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said the president’s endorsement will put an end to the increasing post wrangling and help the lower House elect a leader who is committed to support the legislative agenda of the Duterte administration.

“I think a presidential intervention at this point will clarify all things for Congress because at the end of the day, it is his reform agenda that is more critical to the nation,” Salceda told reporters in a press briefing.

Capiz Representative Fredenil Castro also agreed with Salceda’s sentiment.

“Ang kataga ng president ay maaaring maging guideline ng pagpili ng kung sino ang susunod na speaker ng House of Representatives,” he said.

Earlier reports said Duterte would announce his choice for speaker by June 28, but he eventually said he would remain neutral on the issue.

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

Anak Kalusugan Party-list Representative Mike Defensor, on the other hand, said it would only be right for Duterte to remain firm in his decision to allow House lawmakers to vote for their next leader with their conscience.

Defensor also recalled how Duterte, then serving as congressman in 1998, stood by his choice to vote for then Congressman Joker Arroyo as speaker despite the strong support for then Congressman Manny Villar.

Villar was elected speaker after receiving majority of the votes against Arroyo who only got five votes.

“Noong panahon ni Pangulong Duterte noong siya ay congressman, bumoto siya batay sa kanyang konsensya. Bumoto siya sa kanyang paniniwala kung sino dapat na magsilbi na liderato sa ating Kongreso at ito rin ang susundan kong ehemplo,” he said.

Among those vying for the highest position in the lower House are Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte, Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab, Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales and Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate.

Of the seven contenders for the position, six are allied with the administration.

House members are expected elect the next Speaker when the session of the 18th Congress opens in the morning of July 22, the same day when President Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA). (with details from Grace Casin)

Cayetano suggests hiring financial forensic experts to investigate corruptions in gov’t agencies

Marje Pelayo   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano suggests hiring of financial forensic experts to help investigate irregularities in government transactions and to hold accountable any official involved in corruption. 

Dahil pagdating sa paper trail na at sa white collar na type of crimes, what we need is not the street type of investigators pero yun nga yung mga forensic, financial forensic,” Cayetano said.

[Because when it comes to the paper trail and white-collar type of crimes, what we need is not the street type of investigators but those who are financial forensics.]

This was his proposal in relation to the Senate and the House of Representatives’ hearing on the alleged corruption inside the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“I’m a little bit concerned that if it can happen to PhilHealth, what about the other government financial institutions who obviously get billions or hundreds of billions in budget. We have to have an effective watchdog,” the House Speaker noted.

Cayetano assures the support of Congress when it comes to the budget that will be needed should the Commision on Audit (COA) and the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) decide to hire such experts.

The said financial forensic experts will not concentrate on PhilHealth alone but to other agencies and departments in the government.

Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo, meanwhile, expressed her agreement to Cayetano’s proposal saying these experts will be a big help in scrutinizing important documents that can be used as evidence to unveil widespread corruption in a specific government agency. 

“Agree po fully kay Speaker. Importanteng malaman ang [I fully agree with the Speaker. It’s important that we determine the] extent and patterns of fraud through the financial records,” she explained.

“This will facilitate investigation and evidence gathering in a systemic way. Otherwise, piecemeal ang approach. The financial forensics will show kung talamak ang fraud,” she added.

READ: Duterte wants probe on alleged PhilHealth anomaly

State insurer PhilHealth is currently in hot water after reports of alleged corruption among its executives particularly the ‘overpriced’ IT equipment and projects. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DILG reiterates: No mass gathering during 5th SONA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reiterated that mass gathering is still prohibited even during President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The reminder was issued following numerous requests made to the department from groups who want to conduct protest rallies during the President’s SONA on Monday (July 27).

In an advisory released by the DILG, the department reminded local government units (LGU) to prohibit mass gatherings, following the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said they will strictly monitor and will apprehend anyone who will violate the IATF policies during SONA.

“Base sa instruction and guidelines na kapag may mag-rally doon na bawal at lalo na kapag walang permit at goes beyond the authorized number, aarestuhin talaga sila, (Based on the instruction and guidelines, if a group stages a rally without a permit and goes beyond the authorized number, they will be apprehended),” according to NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Hunger among families climbs to 20.9% in the past 3 months—SWS

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2020

About 20.9%, , or an estimated 5.2 million Filipinos families experienced ‘involuntary hunger’ at least once in the past three months, according to the recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

“Hunger in July 2020 was up by 4.2 points from 16.7% in May 2020, and by a total of 12.1 points from 8.8% in December 2019,” the SWS stated.

The SWS July 3-6, 2020 National Mobile Phone Survey showed that out of the 20.9% Filipino families, 15.8% or an estimate of 3.9 million families experienced ‘moderate hunger’. Meanwhile, the remaining 5.1% or an estimate of 1.3 million families experienced ‘severe hunger’.

The SWS defined “moderate hunger” as those who experienced hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the last three months. Meanwhile, severe hunger refers to those who experienced it “often” or “always” in the last three months.

The SWS July 3-6, 2020 National Mobile Phone Survey was a probability-based survey conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) of 1,555 adult Filipinos. AAC

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