Solons urge Duterte anew to pick House speaker bet

Robie de Guzman   •   July 4, 2019   •   1130

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)

Roque to ask Duterte if he wants to release his SALN

Marje Pelayo   •   October 30, 2020

 MANILA, Philippines — Members of the opposition have questioned Malacañang anew why it cannot release to the public the details of President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of assets, liabilities and network (SALN) following the release of the senators’ SALN.

To end further speculations on the issue, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he will discuss the matter with the President and ask him if he wants his SALN to be made public.

“Mag-uusap po kami ng ating presidente. Para matapos na po itong issue na ito ay tatanungin ko po baka naman po magbigay ng permiso ang presidente para isapubliko ang kaniyang SALN, [I will talk to the President. To end this issue, I will ask him if he would permit making his SALN public],” Roque said.

“Pero wala pong itinatago ang ating presidente. Bago po maglabas ng ganitong guidelines ang Ombdusman, taon-taon naman po inilalabas ng presidente ang kaniyang SALN, [But the president is not hiding anything. Before the Ombudsman released its guidelines, the President had been releasing his SALN to the public],” he added.

In a report released by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the last time President Duterte’s SALN was made public was in 2016 and 2017 but it was no longer available in 2018 and 2019.

Malacañang insists that the Chief Executive is only following the guidelines issued by the Office of the Ombudsman over his SALN.

“Tatanungin po natin iyan sa Presidente. Kasi ang kaniyang posisyon bilang isang abogado, sundin namin ang guidelines ng Ombudsman [We will ask the President because his position as a lawyer is to follow the guidelines of the Ombudsman],” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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House to transmit 2021 budget to Senate ahead of Oct. 28 deadline – Velasco

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to transmit to the Senate its version of the P4.506-trillion proposed 2021 national budget, a day before the promised date of Oct. 28, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Tuesday.

Velasco earlier said he and Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed on the date as the deadline of transmission.

The House speaker said the record-high budget was designed to further strengthen government response and stimulate economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We increased the allocation for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines by more than three-fold to cover more Filipinos. We also provided extra allocation for the facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health to help improve the country’s health care system,” Velasco said in a statement.

“The House-approved version of the budget also has additional funding for the Department of Labor and Employment to aid workers displaced by COVID-19 and for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for another round of financial assistance to families affected by the pandemic,” he added.

The lower chamber passed the budget bill on third and final reading last Oct. 17 after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The bill was approved a few days after Velasco was elected to the House’s top post following the removal of Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Velasco assumes post as new House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday officially assumed as the new speaker of the House of Representatives, replacing Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, following his election that enforced his term-sharing agreement with the latter.

Velasco presided over the re-opening of the House session on Tuesday to resume the chamber’s deliberations of the proposed 2021 national budget after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the session, 186 lawmakers voted to ratify Velasco’s installation as speaker following his election in a remote session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on Monday.

Leaders of political parties and regional blocs also pledged support for the new speaker.

The nominal voting came a few hours before the special session for budget deliberations began in the plenary on Tuesday afternoon.

Presiding over the House proceedings for the first time, Velasco thanked his allies and other lawmakers for their support.

Velasco’s assumption of the chamber’s top post ended weeks of leadership tug-of-war with Cayetano, who tendered his irrevocable resignation as House Speaker in recognition of the former’s election. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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