Zubiri withdraws BBL Senate version

UNTV News   •   January 19, 2018   •   4113

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri will withdraw his version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“That on Monday morning we will withdraw our version and file the BTC version,” sub-committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) chairman, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

The senator, in what he said is his own initiative, will file the version of BBL crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) instead.

According to the senator, the BTC’s version is likely to pass the scrutiny of the lawmakers.

“I am encouraged by the fact that they have taken a lot of unconstitutional provisions,” Zubiri said.

In the said BTC version, the proposed geographical area of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region has lessened and will only include Cotabato City, Isabela City, some areas of North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.

Also taken out was the provision that will establish their own constitutional offices like Commission on Audit and Civil Service Commission.

The senator also believes that the existence of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will not be declared unconstitutional under the Federal Form of government.

“Kasi kung gusto nga nila ng (If what they want is the) Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, why not give them a chance to run as a parliament?” Zubiri added.

The Senate’s sub-committee on BBL will conduct a series of public consultations on January 25 and 26 in Cotabato City and Marawi City regarding the passage of the BBL.

The Senate targets to have the BBL approved this year. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

Another Ampatuan massacre fugitive arrested

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2020

Ampatuan massacre suspect, Gambayan Kasim, also known as Lori Alip

MANILA, Philippines – Another at-large suspect in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre has been finally caught after eluding arrest for over a decade, authorities said Friday.

Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-BARMM) identified the suspect as 47-year old Gambayan Kasim, also known as Lori Alip.

The PRO-BARMM added that Kasim, an alleged member of a private armed group, was arrested after he was served a warrant of arrest on Thursday, January 9 at Barangay Timbangan in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.

Authorities recovered a hand grenade from Kasim’s possession.

During the operation, Kasim’s alleged cohort, identified as Edsrail Guiomla alias Nas Guiomla, fired shots at the operatives.

Police retaliated and injured Guiomla. He was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead upon arrival.

Recovered form Guiomla was a caliber .45 gun and 13 sachets of suspected shabu (crystal meth).

Police said Kasim and the collected pieces of evidence were turned over to proper authorities for documentation and disposition.

Last January 6, police also nabbed Faisal Dimaukom alias Kagi Faizal, who is one of the suspects in the massacre.

Dimaukom was arrested during an operation in Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

Kasim and Dimaukom are among the 80 out of nearly 200 suspects in the massacre who were at large when the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) Branch 221 released last month its verdict on the gruesome killing.

On December 19, QC RTC Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes handed down a guilty verdict to some members of the political Ampatuan clan, including former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Anwar Ampatuan Jr. and Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, for their involvement in the murder of 57 people, including members of the media.

Originally, there were 58 victims in the massacre but the 58th person, photographer Reynaldo Momay of the local paper Midland Review, was declared missing after his body was not found in the scene.

The Ampatuan massacre is considered as the worst election-related violence and attack on press freedom in the Philippines.

Lacson to file resolution seeking vote of confidence on SP Sotto

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson has drafted a resolution that aimed at assuring that Senate President Vicente Sotto III will keep his leadership in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

He said the idea came from Senator Manny Pacquiao.

“Actually, the idea was originally proposed by Sen Manny Pacquiao. The resolution to be routed is about a vote of confidence in the leadership of SP Sotto,” Lacson said.

He added that this move was prompted by the “insinuations made by Senators-elect Marcos and Tolentino for a leadership change for whatever motives they have — whether it’s posturing to get their desired committee chairmanships or serious attempts to elect a new Senate leader.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had also refused to further comment on the issue that floats the name of Senator Cynthia Villar in the Senate presidency.

“I won’t comment on the push for Senator Villar by the newly elected senators as I’m close to both Villar and Sotto. However, my last conversation with Tita Cynthia was that she was not interested. And, yes, I will sign the Manifesto for SP Sotto,” Zubiri said.

Villar had earlier on signified that she has no interest on the said position.

Read: Senate President Sotto still enjoys support of colleagues in 18th Congress

The minority, on the other hand, said they are not going to meddle on the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the selection of the Senate President is in the hands of the majority bloc. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Senators fear rise in unemployment if TRAIN 2 pushes through

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A Senate committee hearing

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Several senators have expressed concerns over the possible impacts of the package two of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law being pushed by the Duterte administration.

Under the said proposal, the corporate tax will be gradually reduced to 20 percent from 30 percent.

Tax incentives given to some sectors will also be changed.

Lawmakers fear this might lead to mass layoffs and investment losses when enacted into law.

“We should stay that momentum sa pagbaba po ng inflation before we come up with the new tax measures or tax proposal that would scar the investor or pullout investors from existing companies in the Philippines, because what we don’t want to happen is a perfect storm na mataas ang inflation tapos may loss of jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

Zubiri said further study is needed before this bill can be passed.

He added that the measure is not among the senate’s priority agenda when Congress resumes its regular sessions next week.

 “We are appealing to the department of finance that let us study first this measure carefully, we can pass the other measure, TRAIN 3, TRAIN 4 that are not inflationary,” he said.

 The Department of Finance (DOF), however, allays lawmakers’ fears saying the TRAIN 2’s effects are contrary to their concerns.

Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua argued that under the second package, investments and jobs will even grow and higher incentives will be given to firms who will invest in poor provinces.

“What we hope is to encourage registered corporations to get more and better jobs, more efficient and more competitive locate in the countryside, introduce innovation and to invest in agribusiness…kaya yung allegations na Package 2 or Trabaho (bill) will lead to lost of investment , closure of business, job losses and inflationary, sa tingin po namin , based on our proposal ay hindi po totoo,” Chua explained.

The DOF further noted that 645 corporations or 336 sectors have benefited from tax incentives.

Chua added that the administration just wants to level the playing field for all Filipinos and investors.

“At hindi natin alam kung magkano nakuha nila at wala pong libreng incentive, kung may nakinabang tulad ng 0 tax , reduced tax, ibig sabihin may nagbabayad niyan. Normally ang ordinaryong pilipino ang nagbabayad,” he noted.

The DOF believes they will be able to enlighten lawmakers on the provisions of the measure when the senate continues its deliberation in the coming weeks. – Nel Maribojoc

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