Cayetano bats for ‘practical’ term extension for elected officials

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019   •   1288

FILE PHOTO: Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – House Speakership aspirant, Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano is looking to extend the term limits of elected officials.

Cayetano, whose speakership bid in the 18th Congress was endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte, said that longer term of office is more “practical” and “productive” for lawmakers.

“While we will push for federalism, I think there is a way that the Senate will agree that we push either for four years, no term limit; or five years, three-term limit,” Cayetano said during a gathering of House lawmakers on Wednesday night.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution allows members of the House of Representatives to serve a three-year term and no more than three consecutive terms while a senator has a six-year team with one re-election.

Cayetano said the current term limit is hindering the country’s development.

“Bakit? You are elected in May. You take office in June. ‘Yung 6 months you’re still getting organized. Kung kalaban mo nakaupo, ubos na ‘yung pondo, di ba? Nag-explain ka pa sa tao bakit hindi mo nade-deliver lahat?” he said.

“Your budget starts in January. That’s only one year, 2020. Because at 2021, everyone’s thinking of 2022. Then the cycle starts again,” he added.

The speaker aspirant, however, clarified he wants the measure implemented to give lawmakers more time to approve bills.

“Kanina, may nagsabi na sa media, ‘Si Alan is pushing for term extension,’ which is not true; 15-21 na nga e. Baka iniisip ng iba, gusto kong gawing 4 o 5 years para ma-extend din kami. Hindi po ‘yun ang sinabi ko,” he said.

“Ang sabi ko, while there are substantive bills that we have to file, the reality is there is also administrative restrictions and limitations that’s why hindi magdevelop ang ating bansa. And one of them is the three-year term na may term-limit pa,” he said.

GOD Bless the 18th Congress.GOD Bless the Philippines.

Posted by Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday, 10 July 2019

If he gets the House top seat during the election on July 22, in which he will serve for only 15 months, Cayetano said he wants to lead the most “disruptive” Congress.

“Kung pagbibigyan niyo ako, total 15 months lang ako. Ayoko umalis na failure. Gusto ko umalis na napaka-productive,” he said.

“I’m asking all of you, let us all be the most disruptive Congress, in the sense that we disrupted the status quo and we can deliver more,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, views Cayetano’s suggestion to extend term limit as “delivering the wrong message.”

“Incoming House Speaker Cayetano’s longer term limit suggestion: Starting on the wrong foot, or delivering the wrong message,” Lacson wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Lacson added that the proposal is just another way of saying goodbye to the proposed charter change in the 18th Congress.

“I would say, country first before self-interest,” he said.

READ: Palace: Term extension bid for elected officials up to Congress

Malacañang earlier said it is up to the lawmakers on whether to approve Cayetano’s proposal, and suggested that they ask the public about the matter. (with details from Grace Casin)

No ‘Sara for President’ in 2022, no term extension —Pres. Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said there are groups urging his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to run for president in 2022 but the Chief Executive expressed his opposition to the idea.

He stressed that the presidential seat is not for a woman to fill.

“My daughter inuudyok naman nila, sabi ko, ‘My daughter is not running,’” he said during the launch of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project in Quezon City on Thursday (January 14).

“I have told Inday not to run kasi naaawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko . Hindi ito pambabae. Alam mo, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. That is the sad story,” he said.

Rumors about the younger Duterte’s possible 2022 bid surfaced after a Pulse Asia survey conducted from November 23 to December 2, 2020 revealed that one in every four Filipinos expressed support for the presidential daughter’s bid for the presidency in the next election.

As for him, the Chief Executive said he will not accept any offer of term extension even if Congress moves to amend the Constitution for that matter.

On Wednesday (January 13) the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments began discussing the proposed change in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Critics of the Duterte administration slammed such a move, claiming it is a front of Duterte allies to push for term extension and scrapping of term limits among politicians.

“Kaya nga hinihingi ko ang Congress, akala nila term extension ,” Duterte said.

“Maski ibigay mo sa akin on a silver platter, maski ibigay mo sa akin libre another 10 years, sabihin ko sa iyo, p***** i** mo, iyo na lang iyan. Tapos na ako,” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

‘Bitter Talaga Sila’: Cayetano slammed for riding on BTS popularity for clout

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Seven lawmakers who previously held key positions in the House of Representatives (HOR) coined the slogans “Back to Service” and “Bayanihan, Tapang at Serbisyo” as their newest advocacy — these also coincidentally form the acronym “BTS”.

BTS is more popularly known as the acronym for Bangtan Boys, a South Korean pop group that is considered the biggest boy band in the world right now.

Meanwhile, the newly formed BTS political bloc in Congress — spearheaded by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano — claims that the Lower House is not in its proper order of business nowadays.

The group wants to bring focus on more pressing issues such as economic recovery, COVID-19 response and prompt delivery of government services.

“Kung inuna niya ang hearing sa vaccination at sa PhilHealth, wala tayong problema. Inuna ang Cha-Cha,” Cayetano said of his successor House Speaker Allan Velasco.

READ: Cayetano steps down as House Speaker

Laguna Representative Dan Fernandez echoed the same sentiments.

“Kasi very important yung problema ng pandemic and that’s the reason why wala kaming sinasayang na oras. Pero ngayon isang buwan kaming bakasyon at magsisimula ang Kongreso sa Lunes wala kang narinig na hearing,” he said. 

All seven of them said they are part of a much larger group of colleagues in Congress who support their initiative.

“We are a bigger group. We have many sympathisers, supporters that are currently part of the leadership of the House. Marami kaming kasama na committee chairmen,” said Anak Kalusugan Partylist Mike Defensor.

They believe the HOR has lost its glory and they want to reinstate it through this advocacy.

“We want to bring back the House of Representative being the house of the people rather than the house of politics,” noted Camarines Sur Representative L-Ray Villafuerte.

“Pinatibay namin iyong grupo namin dahil iisa ang nararamdaman namin. Kailangang maramdaman ng mga tao na ang House of Representatives ay kasama nila sa anumang nararamdaman nila,” added Batangas Representative Raneo Abu.

On the other hand, Senior Deputy Speaker Doy Leachon defended Velasco’s push for charter change as he believes it can solve and improve the current state of the country’s economy.

“Cha-Cha is sincere to deal only with economic provisions and supported by party leaders because this is the most opportune and right time to address the high unemployment rate and closure of business as the constitutional amendments seek to address infusion of massive investment opportunities,” he said.

Leachon in a statement called Cayetano’s group “ungrateful” and “selfish”.

He said Cayetano should have been thankful that Velasco did not touch the “bloated budget” that the former inserted and crafted into the 2021 national budget.

“Moreover, Speaker Velasco, despite their demeaning personality attacks on him, didn’t even raise a finger for 15 months and just waited for the right time to assume as the head of Congress based on the term-sharing agreement. Yun ang tularan nila- maginoo,” Leachon said.

“Their BTS launch is insignificant as to derail the Velasco’s legislative agenda because the current leadership under Speaker Velasco has earned the respect of the members of the supermajority  because they lucidly see a decent man, not vindictive, working leader who has also a gentle heart to feel the needs of the House members. Hindi barkadahan lang,” he added.

Leachon advised the group not to ride on the popularity of the K-pop group BTS because their acronym might end up standing for: ‘Bitter Talaga Sila.’ MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Velasco files bills granting president power to suspend PhilHealth, SSS rate hikes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday said he has filed two separate bills seeking to grant the president the power to suspend the scheduled increases in the contribution rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) in times of national emergencies.

In a statement, Velasco said his twin measures propose to amend Republic Act (RA) 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, and RA 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which provide for gradual increases in monthly premium contributions in PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The bills authorize the president to suspend the implementation of the scheduled increases in premium rates in times of national emergencies “when public interest so requires.”

But this should be in consultation with the secretaries of health and finance departments as chairpersons of PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The measures were filed after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of the premium rate increase.

Velasco said RA 11223 was enacted in 2018 to ensure that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services, and protected against financial risk.

He said the intent of the law is clear and cannot be overemphasized—Filipinos need and deserve a comprehensive set of health services that are cost-effective, of high quality, and responsive.

The House speaker, however, stressed that the current situation is extraordinary and that Congress must respond accordingly as he called for the swift approval of the bills aimed at alleviating the financial burden faced by many Filipino workers amid the crisis.

“While we recognize that the [PhilHealth] only aims to implement the provisions of RA 11223, imposing a higher premium rate to our kababayans under our current conditions will definitely enforce a new round of financial burden to its members,” Velasco said in the explanatory note of House Bill 8316.

“Suspending the imposition of the new PhilHealth premium rates will provide a much-needed relief from the negative effects of the pandemic and will assure Filipinos that the government is sensitive to their sentiments,” he said.

In filing HB 8317, Velasco said the temporary suspension of the hike in SSS contributions will help the workforce achieve faster recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

“We are witnesses to the negative impact of this COVID-19 outbreak. Under this pretext, the sovereign government must be given the prerogative to bend the rules of the social security law in favor of the greater good,” Velasco said.

He likewise said that increasing the rate of contributions of SSS members will “strikingly undermine the recovery effort of everyone suffering from job losses, wage reduction, business closures, and health-related issues.”

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