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17th Congress closing rites to be held for outgoing members

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

More than 70 members of the House of Representatives are “graduating” on June 5 this year when the regular session of 17th Congress adjourns.

These outgoing lawmakers, which make up less than a fourth of the current 294 House membership, are on their third and last term.

They include former House Majority leader Rudy Fariñas, who backed out of the 2019 gubernatorial race in Ilocos Norte two weeks before the midterm polls.

READ: Marcos scion now unopposed in Ilocos Norte after Fariñas’ withdrawal from race

67-year old Fariñas said in a statement he wants to retire from politics, adding that one of his children will seek for a congressional seat in the next elections.

Fariñas started his foray in the political arena when ran and won as mayor of Laoag City in 1980.

“Yes. I did not really want to run for any office as I want to retire on June 30 – after 39 years since I started as Laoag City Mayor on March 3, 1980, at the age of 27,” he said.

Former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is also on his third and last term as a congressman. The 82-year old solon also opted to resign as a member of the Liberal party in preparation for his retirement from politics.

“After careful and deliberate consultations with my family and our constituents, and in preparation for my quiet retirement from politics,” he said in a statement.

Incumbent House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will also be ‘graduating’ when the 17th Congress adjourn next month.

When asked whether she is retiring from public office soon, she replied with: “I will write my memoirs. That’s all I know.”

The former president also refused to endorse any solon who will likely succeed her in the 18th Congress.

“I don’t want to comment on the next Congress because I am not going to be a part of it,” she said in a message.

Among the names that are emerging for the House Speakership race are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte 4th district Rep. Lucy Torres, Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

The “graduation” ceremony will be held on the day of the 17th Congress sine adjournment on June 5. Third-termers will be given a graduation medal as they reached their term limit as congressmen/women.

The 18th Congress will open on July 22 which will be the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address. (with details from Grace Casin)

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PDP-Laban appoints Pampanga Rep. Gonzales as party’s National Executive VP

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

(L-R) Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. and Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Monday announced the appointment of Pampanga third district Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. as the ruling party’s Interim National Executive Vice President.

Gonzales was appointed to his new role by PDP-Laban president and re-elected Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.

His appointment paper was signed on June 13 but was only released to the media on Monday (June 17).

Gonzales previously served as PDP-Laban’s regional president for Central Luzon.

He has been reported as one of the lawmakers being considered by the ruling party to be its candidate for the House Speakership post in the 18th Congress.

Other contenders include Davao del Norte Representative and former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

The PDP-Laban has yet to announce the name of its official bet for the speakership race.

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Pacquiao meets with Duterte on House speakership issue

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Manny Pacquiao | Courtesy : Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s Facebook page (March 28, 2018)

Senator Manny Pacquiao held a private meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening in General Santos City.

Here the two officials discussed about the ongoing Speakership tussle among three aspirants within the ruling PDP Laban party.

It is still uncertain, however, whether or not the Senator was able to convince the President to pick from their three party-mates the one who will start leading the House of Representatives next month.

Pacquiao is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Saturday for the continuation of his training camp for his upcoming welterweight championship showdown with Keith Thurman on July 20.

Senator-elect Bong Go was with the President in his meeting with Senator Pacquiao.

“Consult sino PDP candidate sa Speaker. Sabi ni boss (Duterte), he will get back to Pacman in the coming days and mag usap lang sila,” Go said.

Go added that it was Pacquiao who consulted President Duterte on the speakership issue.

Go said that the President promised Pacquiao that he will come up with his decision by next week.

Last Tuesday, Reps. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque), Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales (Pampanga), and former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez (Davao del Norte) held a close-door meeting at Senator Pacquiao’s residence in Dasmariñas Village.

This is to decide among themselves the candidate of the party for the House Speakership. The three, however, failed to reach a consensus.

Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, reiterated on Thursday that the President will not meddle in the selection of the next House Speaker.

“The President will not interfere. He never endorsed,” Panelo added. /mbmf

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PDP-Laban to announce next House speakership bet this week

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) are leaving it to President Rodrigo Duterte as to who he will pick as the party’s bet for the Lower House Leadership.

Senator Manny Pacquiao said he will meet with the President before he flies for the United States on Saturday in preparation for his boxing match.

He said that he will ask the President to decide as to who the party’s candidate for the House Speakership in the 18th Congress should be.

Senator Pacquiao said, “kasi kung magsuggest ang pangulo ng hindi PDP, iyon saka ako magsa-suggest na kailangang PDP. Kasi PDP ang pangulo natin.

[Because if the President will suggest someone who is not (from) PDP, then I will suggest (to him) that it must be from PDP. Because our president is (from) PDP.]

The senator added that the party’s primary criteria for the next House leader are loyalty and his/her continued support to the programs of the president.”

Senator Pacquiao also responded to the criticisms thrown at him by House Minority Leader Danny Suarez, accusing him of meddling with the affairs of the Lower House.

This is in relation to the senator’s meeting with three aspirants for the House speakership.

“Hindi naman ako nakikialam. Nakikialam ako as kapartido PDP.  Kailangang ayusin talaga.  Kung siya ay PDP rin dapat tumulong rin siya para ayusin ang problema kasi kahihiyan ng partido yan kapag hindi nagkakaisa ang isang Partido. So iyon ang dapat isipin niya na disiplinahin natin,” Senator Pacquiao said.

[It’s not that I was meddling. I intervene as a member of the PDP. We need to iron things out. If he is a PDP member, he should also help to thresh the problem out because it will put the party in a bad light if we are not united. That’s what he should think about to discipline.]

The three aspirants from the ruling party are Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales, and  Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

Other contenders are Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez of Lakas-CMD and Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party.

Senator Pacquiao said that he may announce their candidate for the House Speakership within this week. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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